I was out with a few friends a few nights ago, and somehow the conversation turned to education. We all attended different schools (and one of us had attended school abroad, them being a foreigner), therefore there was quite a variety in our experiences.
What I noticed was that instead of comparing our educational systems to see what was good and what was lacking, we took the entire situation more personally. We were trying to prove that we had a harder time in school than the other.
We compared number of exams, number of subjects taken at school, the compulsary subjects we had to sit for. We constantly tried to one-up the other. Which got me thinking, why do we do this? Why do we want to prove that our lives are worse, or harder?
Frankly, we were speaking about situations which happened ten, fifteen, years ago. And yet we still wanted to prove that, somehow, our situation was worse.
And the reason behind this is definitely not because we don’t want our loved ones to have suffered more. No, we do it because we want attention. People love getting attention, be it for talent, for an achievement, or be it pity. (Mind you, we DON’T want to be pitied).
The thing is, the attention given to you for an achievement rarely lasts as long as the attention given to you when something bad goes wrong in your life.
“Oh, you got an A in that really hard exam?” “Cool, did you see my new phone?”
“I failed that exam” “Oh, that was such a hard exam, here have my notes, study from them, you’ll manage this time!”
So my question is, do we have these conversations where we try to get people to pity us because we figure that that is the only way to get lasting attention? Or do we do it because if we try to emphasise our achievements, then people won’t pay much attention at all? After all, we’re always told to not toot our our own horn…