I Believe in Contentment

Computer Science
1st year
Beijing, China
Leshi Wang

When you ask me what I believe in, I could go on and on about all the things that have happened in my life and have inspired me in believing something. But, here is a shorter version of my answer: I believe in contentment.

Many people would think "That is terrible! If you believe in contentment you would make no progress!" But I do not think that is what being content means. Being content can bring happiness, self-confidence, and sometimes even more efficient progress. I was not raised to be content. I was taught that I have to get better all the time. I was taught that I had to try to be the best at everything. When I walked home with an 99 on my grade report, my dad would always say: "that is not good enough, you need to get better." When my height was shorter than the average in my class, I was forced to take supplements and do special jumping exercises every day. When I learned only piano but other girls learned three kinds of instruments, I was told "look at her, you need to get better, you need to learn those too."

So I tried and tried, every day, to get better, at everything.

In high school, I enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program. It was indeed a very academically challenging and time consuming program. No matter how hard I tried, I was starting to realize that it is neither possible nor necessary for me to be the best at everything. I was starting to see the difference between people: some people are extremely talented in math, some in history, and some in English. Even though I was capable of being just as good as they are in those subjects if I really spent time and tried, I realized that there are not 100 hours in a day, and that I have limited brain power after all. I was troubled a lot at first, when I walked home with a B in English, and when I could not finish a homework assignment until 3am, and my dad says "Shame on you." But after a while, I started to realize: I am really just how I am, I should be content with how I am, and stop trying to be like others.

So, contentment is not the equivalent of laziness and it does not mean one stops striving to make progress. Contentment means being who you are, and be happy about it. Now, I am happy even though I am not the best pianist in the world; I am happy even though I get Bs and Cs in classes; I am happy even though I am not the "super successful" kid who my parents tried to make me to be. I still work hard and make progress on the things I love; I still am proud of myself even though I am not some child prodigy. I am content with myself, and I am happy.