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Making Your Own Road

“ Any man can be born a genius, but no man can be born a wise man. “ This statement is one of a few principles that I base my life on. Having stated this, what is the reason for wisdom? What factors constitute a wise man? I believe it is experience, the process by which an individual goes through an event which more than likely results in changes in character and personality. Life, in itself, is a whole series of experiences, they are the fractions of life, and without even just a single fraction life would not be whole. If life is a pizza, experiences are it's slices. We, and only ourselves, have the power to make a decision – what do we choose to gain from our experiences? To expand my analogy of pizzas, the more positive values we gain from our experiences, the more toppings there are on the pizza, making life more colorful. The more negative values, on the other hand, makes each slice shrink, therefore one needs repetitive experiences to make the pizza, life, whole. Every topping on the pizza – positive values, create a new distinct flavor, and these flavors are characteristics. In fact, we can expand on our pizza analogy a step further – the more flavors, the more costly the pizza – the more characteristics, the more self-worthy you are. Yet, there is a limit to how many toppings there can be on a pizza, one can only choose which characteristics, and principles, one wishes to add into his or her own special life. This is exactly how I feel about life in general, and the experiences I have chosen specially are – Being a unique person, adapting to changing environments and looking at the world from a different perspective. These are my slices, these are what I am made of.

“Nowadays being different is normal and being normal is different.”. From a young age, I have always wanted to be different from others. It is a common saying that everyone is special, and I do agree with that. I argue though, that many portray themselves as being of the same trend, even though they might be 'special' beneath. “It is not what you are that matters, but what you portray yourself to be.”. This desire to be different is not to gain attention, rather it is based on my belief that in order to achieve success one needs to take that extra step and attempt that different road. If you were to look at historical people of success, it is undeniable that they possessed something different. Leonardo Da Vinci, for example, possessed a powerful curiosity, that of an infant, which survived through his years. Perhaps he was born with it, but there is no such thing as impossible. In order to cultivate such curiosity, I have refrained from being narrow-minded by interpreting the world from a different perspective. One can do this only by seeing not the troubles and discomfort that gaining knowledge would create, but the sense of satisfaction and achievement. For example, mathematics to the common mind is a puzzle of numbers, and solving equations requires memorization of formulas which make no meaning. But with the different mindset that I have cultivated, I have looked upon mathematics in a different light. For example, I cherish the beauty that they can be only one number, out of an infinite number of numbers, that satisfy an equation, and that mathematics is beautiful universal language in itself, and this is the aspect of being unique that I am driving at. I have chosen this route not because of a personal self-conscious, but because I want to show that it is possible to make a challenge easier with a different attitude and mindset.

“Yu Xuan, we will be moving to the US next year.”. Never has a phrase struck with such meaning. In that instant, my plans for the future seemed to collide upon me. Desperate attempts at convincing my parents that they had made a wrong decision proved no better. It was only a month before the move that I succumbed to the pressure and reality of the situation, after encouragement from friends and family. It is not everyday that such a profound change occurs. My first few months in this new world proved to be no light at the end of the tunnel, but rather depressing. Perhaps it was all a normal process. However, I have learned the causes for these rocky obstacles. More importantly, I have learned and applied from this experience. For what is the point of learning when you do not apply what you learn? Adaptation to a different environment requires two things. Firstly, accepting that the past is over and the new is full of opportunities. An analogy can be used here – A man standing on two boats cannot travel faster than if he had been on one boat only. Secondly, it is important to step out of your comfort zone. As much as the Earth's condition is never static, people should not be too. I chose not to be my old self anymore. Rather, I chose to challenge myself by moving forward, not backward. For example, instead of trusting only one person in life, I made it a point to give others a chance to be part of my life. Indeed, I am now driving at the core value of being selfless.

Through helping others in life through community service, I have understood the underlying basics – there are those who are needy because they are deprived of basic necessities. I have developed a compassion for the needy, and it is a lifelong goal that I make a significant difference in the community. “The World does not involve around you”, a teacher was instructed me, and I have remembered these words since. However, experience through helping others in their studies, or financially, have revealed a greater way of helping others. Ironically, the answer is self-consciousness. Simply stated, a good self-conscious would create in oneself a character that is worthy of being a role model. Others would then look upon you with regard. By following in your footsteps, you would have made someone a better person by making yourself a better person.

Personally, I feel that it is not important what experiences you have been through, but what you have learned and cultivated from those experiences, as I have stated above. These lessons are truly life-long lessons which make up the slices of the pizza of life. Additionally, it is only by remembering these principles, and practicing these values that one can keep the slices of the pizza intact. In conclusion, I must point out that the slices of the life pizza can be given to others. In fact, they can even be exchanged! Such is the beauty of these principles and values that one reaps from the experiences in life. Therefore, everyone is special not because of their own individuality, but because of everyone's individuality, for no one can escape influence, and influence is the method by which one person exchanges his slice of pizza with another person.

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