I’ve learned at a very young age that hard work does not guarantee good results. Growing up, I was always surrounded by people who work a lot harder than me. To be honest, just watching them “going at it” sometimes intimidates me. Their “real” efforts make me feel like a fraud. I don’t usually work hard, I waste my days playing video games and watching pirated TV shows, and I still get the results that I want, especially when I need to make a critical decision that would pivot my life to the next stop.
Yes, I am successful in life so far, judged by the standards of conventional success in China. But I did not do those because I care about being conventionally successful — I did what I did because that is what I wanted to do and that’s in my best interest. For 6-to-22-year-olds in China, the expectation for you is basically getting good grades at school, and a good job after that. I am nailing it in that sense. Getting asked/interfered with about your life decisions is the worst, because there are older adults trying to give you life lessons even though they are not the best role models. They shit on you only because of seniority. Having goals and objectives that fits the traditional meaning of success for a Chinese 22-year-old saves me a lot of trouble.
My rationale in making decisions often involves an assessment of whether this would make my life easier in the long run. You might see me being a diligent student at some point, but that’s because I want to be lazy and enjoy myself in the future. I chose to be a science student in high school because I knew I would have much more choices when I choose a major in college. I knew graduating from a top university would make getting a job or getting into graduate schools easier, so I studied hard enough just so I am where I am right now. I knew I did not want to give it all I got so I managed my expectation and got into the best university near home — did not want to go the the north for higher education anyway. Chose social science because life is less miserable when you know math and physics are not for you. Learned my English the fun and easy way at an early point so I did not have to worry about it when I graduate…
As you can probably see, I strategize my own efforts, and this behavior is actually fueled by my own laziness.