Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch (MY Eng #22)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', and 'once bitten twice shy'.

About to graduate? Feeling optimistic about your chances of landing a dream job with your stellar resume?

Well, best not to rejoice too early. These days, getting straight As at high school or First Class at university is a dime a dozen (another idiom!). No big deal. Standards are dropping, everywhere. The dirty little secret about education is that the powers-that-be require for constant improvement to be made. Year in, year out, the numbers of fantabulastic* results keep getting better and better. Too good to be true, eh?

Such is the system that we live in. Meritocracy seems to be a pipe's dream (another idiom!). In the good old days, we ain't get no certificates for participation (and the ones that we receive just goes straight to the trash can). In the real world, no one gives a s*** about some random workshop that you attended or minor leadership post that you held in some random society (Head of [insert name] Bureau).

* a word I just randomly made up (just like the 101 new fancy terms to make everyone feel 'included' and 'appreciated')

* * *

Anyway, the point is, in this day and age, we can't let ourselves be too easily taken by compliments, words of encouragement, or even awards. The reality is that life is brutally competitive. So don't count your chicken before your eggs have hatched...

In the good old days, our teachers and trainers constantly drop 'truth bombs' upon our naked souls. If we suck, they'll tell us that we suck. Sometimes, we break down and cry. But ultimately, it's for the greater good. Knowing where we truly stand helps us know where we need to improve. Honesty is the best policy (another idiom!).

Unfortunately for millennials, society has normalised mediocrity. It's okay to be not okay. Failure is excusable. Any shortcoming is comforted with a pat in the back.

The unfortunate outcome of lowering of standards is obvious enough. Our younglings have inflated opinions about themselves. They're not motivated to improve. Worst still, they think that they've made it when they clearly haven't - and not by a long shot.

* * *

The tragedy is that fault lies with the elders. We're too scared to be honest. We worry more about being loved. We don't want to get our dainty little hands dirty.

In this day and age, everyone loves to count their chickens even before they've gotten to the farm and started collecting the eggs. It's easy to be lulled into delusions of grandeur. Now, more than ever, we need to stay grounded.

Don't be distracted by the claps. Don't be blinded by the spotlight. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The journey may last for many years, but every second matters.

No comments :

Post a Comment