I was supposed to go to Harvard.
When I was in high school, it was official: Harvard, here I come.
Everyone expected me to be the very best in the world, the cream of the crop. Sure, I was a pretty decent high schooler, but I accomplished nothing to merit a Harvard credential. A couple of top student awards and consistent A’s, but I needed A+’s to have a chance at ole Ivy
By the time I hit university, I was already a complete disappointment, regardless of future success. It simply wasn’t Harvard. Someone told me I was in the best Canadian business school money could buy, but it was the living embodiment of my first F.
This is an essay about unrealistic expectations set by the world.
Before we even had social media, we had friends and family members telling us what we could be and do. We had predefined ways to grow up in the world. Cousin Charlie, whom you see only once every five years, decides your future by asking you why you’re not practicing guitar anymore. You take it personally and decide to end your life in despair. Crazy to think that, but that’s all I see from Gen Z these days, taking drugs and thinking of offing themselves. It’s a weak situation with little encouragement to explore self-interests.
Guess what? It’s worse now.
Kids today are encouraged at a very young age that they must be like Miss Instagram over there, or it’s a failed childhood. We’re not being compared to other people we know anymore. No, we’re being compared to people we don’t know.
So you got an A in school? Well Miss Hermione Granger is the top student in all her classes, so you should be an A+ student.
The thing is, Hermione Granger isn’t even real.
AI isn’t real.
Computers are now warping our world to reflect impossible standards. We must be better, even better, and best. Even if we reach Harvard, someone will wonder what’s next. If you put yourself out there, there will be expectations for infinitesimally more.
That means if you’re 100 years old and you run a marathon, someone will always wonder why you didn’t do it faster.
What am I getting at with all of this?
Well, I think a lot of people are stuck in life because they pay too much attention to the impossible standards.
The reality is, you shouldn’t pay attention to them. You should carve your own path, where the standard is nonexistent.
Some dude out there likes to make amazing wooden microphones for podcast professionals. Ok, I’m making this up, but there probably is a dude out there. He’s successful. He’s found his Harvard. He’s happy.
Does that mean you should copy the example and make wooden mic #2? No. Chances are, you have a different take on things. Even if you like the idea, it’s not enough. You have to be obsessed about something to where you want it for your future. You can’t get the idea out of your head because it itches away at you.
That’s your expectation. That’s your Harvard.
One day I had an itch to make a bunch of children’s books, YouTube videos, and ASMR content. A few itches which had to be scratched. I scratched them. Had I listened to anyone else, the content would have never been created. Someone would have (actually did) say it’s all silly. I just decided to go for it because I had to. Now people are falling asleep to the sound of my voice.
Do you have to do it? Then do it. If someone else is telling you to do it, think twice.
Find your Harvard.
Scratch the itch.
Screw everyone else (not literally).