the aftermath

Expired Scientist
3 min readMay 16, 2022

Have you realized, that for most of our lives, we were pitted against each other? We are taught, by our education system indirectly, if not directly, that to be successful you must be better than others.

Smarter. Faster. More. More. More.

Every term in school, we were ranked against each other, based on the exams we took in solitary with little to no collaboration during the period. The results are what we called “meritocracy” and rewards are given accordingly, to those who conform and excel in this system.

Growing up, I was one of the lucky few. I nonchalantly, and borderline boastful, claimed to my friends that I liked exam seasons. I prepped, most of the times, earlier and harder than majority in my class. I was fortunate, that this academic setting rewarded me in many ways, and it propelled me to where I am now.

As I grow older, academic setting was not really the setting, and most definitely not the rewarding setting. The adult life circles around, other than definitely luck, but also risks, collaboration and networking, as well as drives and motivation. In these settings, meritocracy means little but circumstances and your reaction to them mean almost everything. Are you hungry enough? Are you taking enough risks? Are you comfortable being uncomfortable?

While meritocracy rewards competitiveness, life rewards collaborativeness.

We are always taught that plants compete for limited resources they have, but they actually collaborate. Photo by Echo Wang on Unsplash

Of Tangibility and Results

Life does not always give us immediate result. Sometimes it takes years to brew from what we initially started and sometimes, it hides from us the failure and does not give anything at all. Therefore it is easy to see our life as not moving towards any direction or we feel stuck and immobilized, trapped by our own circumstances.

Hence life rewards persistence. Most of the times, everything feels like a marathon. The routes are unfamiliar, the destination is unseeable, and our faith starts to waver. If we do not set it on ourselves to track — and sometimes create imaginary milestones — it is easy to lose in the undulating, painstaking journey.

Good things, bad things — they all may propagate unintended consequences, or rewards, depending on us. Sometimes it happen earlier, sometimes it could be later. Nevertheless, it takes wisdom to notice those and make the lessons fruitful to us.


My note to self

  • Seriously, just take it easy and one at a time.
  • My endless (and sometimes) pointless effort to be productive usualy led me to bind myself with purchases that I promised myself will help me being productive. You know what is easy, just do the thing!
  • Maybe I should detach myself from so many things I associate with success.