Friday, November 11, 2022

Sour Grapes (#MY Eng 67)

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', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', 'darkest before dawn', 'empty vessels make the most noise', 'birds of a feather flock together', 'separate the wheat from the chaff', 'let sleeping dogs lie', 'open a can of worms', 'light at the end of the tunnel', 'trial and error', 'look before you leap', 'lightning in a bottle', 'on the same page', don't judge a book its cover', 'reinvent the wheel', 'shifting gears', 'throwing in the towel', 'jump on the bandwagon', 'passing the buck', 'breaking the ice', 'cracking the code', 'when it rains it pours', 'bigger fish to fry', 'ball is in your court', 'back to the drawing board', 'square peg in a round hole', 'don't rock the boat', 'a whole new ball game', 'burning the midnight oil', 'never say never', 'get all your ducks in a row', 'make the hay while the sun shines', 'tick all the boxes', 'a leopard cannot change its spots', 'fools rush in', 'final straw that broke the camel's back', 'tip of iceberg', 'hold the fort' and 'draw a line in the sand'.

One of the basis rules of happiness is stop comparing oneself with others.

Be grateful and contented with what you have. Life shouldn't be a rat race. To each their own.

Still, every good life advice comes along with caveats and exceptions. Rules aren't iron-clad absolutes. Principles shouldn't be follow strictly like religious dogma.

* * *

It's normal to excuse our laziness on differences in life purposes and priorities. We tell ourselves: "Success comes with hard work, and not all of us are programmed nor desire to work hard." However, what seems like self-awareness can often times be merely a disguise for self-defeatism. We tell ourselves not to bother climbing the towering tree simply because the grapes beyond our reach are sour anyway...

That's the trouble I see in many youngsters these days. They justify their lack of effort, motivation, and success due to personal choice. Choice? Wow, really? Choosing a life of mediocrity rather than excellence?

There's a growing social movement fuelled with all the cool buzzwords: quiet quitting, work-life balance, right to disconnect, etc. Personally, I find it rather amusing that the people complaining about receiving work emails and messages pass office hours are typically the same people gazing at their phones and hooked onto social media at every hour.

You can't have it both ways, honey. You can't complain about work interfering with your 'free time' when you're not even fully focused on work during 'work time'.

* * *

So when young people tell me that they're not keen to go on a life-changing mission (e.g. take on an interesting but difficult project) because they're just too busy with their day-to-day work at office or school, I feel a twinge of sadness for them.

Where's your sense of adventure? Zest for life? Curiosity to face the unknown?

Why make rash assumptions that the trees in the dark forest are mostly sour and rotten? Or more importantly - why does it even matter what the grapes really taste like?

The fun part about adventuring is the climb itself, and not the fruits that you get out of the climb. After all - cliché as it sounds - life is a journey and not a destination.

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