I came across this quote, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it really resonated with me: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
This is such simple common sense that we often overlook it. As high school students working on our various courses and college applications, we often keep our eyes trained only on the future — a year or two to three years out, sometimes working with pricey counselors to suggest activities to amaze these colleges with our superior skills (as 17 to 18 year olds!) in business, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, ten clubs and so on. It defies common sense right there. Is that really what lies within you?
My parents have never subscribed to artificially programming my experience to fit the stereotype of the “ideal” college applicant. They firmly believe that we are all constant works in progress and every day is a new start. High school can be overwhelming and a place to challenge yourself, learn responsibility and to navigate life in the midst of all this chaos. I pretty much forge my own path in pursuing my passions. I will be the first to admit that I’ve made many, many mistakes in those learning areas but I’ve also had many new starts!
Live actively chasing your interests, and not passively as an instrument of somebody else’s priorities. Probe deeply to see what is within you. Dwelling on the past or living in the future both keep you out of reality, depriving you of your present. Be more of the person you already are today, not the person you wished you had been in your past or not the person you want to be in the hazy future.
As my grandfather, Appu, reminds me often with his infinite common sense: “The past is dead, the future is yet to be born, so today is the only thing you’ve got!”