I would be lying if I said I tried my absolute best during my GCSE exams, quite frankly, I was fairly lucky to get the grades I needed to study at A-Level. I remember feeling happy when we were given time off on study leave and I remember spending time with my friends in the park nearby the school and going to get burgers and chips from the shops on the day of the actual exams. Yeah, not a lot of time spent studying there, right?
I must clarify incase my mother is reading this (hi Mum!), my lack of effort was not down to bad parenting in any way – I am very well disciplined and know right from wrong. I think it was mainly down to an ever-so-slightly rebellious attitude during my teenage years.
But, as I said, I scraped my way through GCSEs and made the decision to continue at the school with sixth form education as I didn’t know what else to do and I was comfortable in that setting. Most of my close friends didn’t have the same plan as me though, and we all went on our separate paths. I then fell into a group of friends that were all quite hard workers that took their education seriously and I guess I began to see the pluses of doing your best in what you do thanks to their example. They sort of had that attitude where if I said “I can’t be bothered with that” they would respond with “you might as well try your best at it though” and I couldn’t argue.
Interestingly, it was also during this time that I began my foray into Japanese culture along with a few of my friends and this soon led to me being acquainted with the world of K-Pop by extension. Time went by and I became more deeply immersed in my interests, learning about these cultures so different from my own. There is that stereotype of Asians doing well in school and being smart, but I began to see the reality was their societies’ mentality towards education and work that sets them apart.
The K-Pop industry, especially, is very open about the immense effort goes into its production. The intense training schemes, longs hours and idols’ involvement in the many different areas of the entertainment industry are plain for consumers to see. I realised how driven the individual artists involved tend to be as they pursue their goals, it’s almost as if “I can’t be bothered with that” is at the furthest point from entering their consciousness. Frequently you see idols collapsing from exhaustion having given so much into their work; you see them as a ubiquitous entity, seamlessly jumping from music video, to stage performance, to variety programme in a week’s space of time. They work hard, and what amazes me most is that they rarely complain or let the tiredness come to the surface. They are entertainers and their job is to brighten up our days, so most persevere to smile, to get involved and laugh along despite the difficulty they must be facing occasionally.
I feel that the hard work of these celebrities has played a part in inspiring me to try my best in everything I do. If they can do all this and often go to school and university at the same time, what excuse do I have?
I remember a time during my A-Levels when I worked really hard revising for a Sociology module exam (A-Levels are non-stop exams, am I right?!) and I ended up getting an A. I was the only one in my class who had managed to do so and everyone was congratulating me, my teacher even stopped in passing to tell me how much of an improvement I was making and that I should be really proud of myself. I had not really been in a position such as this before and I relished that feeling of achievement and, in that, felt as though all my hard work and hours of revision were worth it.
Of course, I am not for a minute suggesting that all Asians are hardworking and all who are not Asian are lazy, I am also not saying my only reason for working hard is down to K-Pop stars – that would be silly. I am also not saying that every Asian celebrity is a shining example, in fact, some are very naughty indeed. However, thanks to time, my general maturing, some hardworking friends and the knowledge of other cultures, I am able to draw on different experience and knowledge to inform my present decision-making.
One of the first Japanese phrases I learnt was ‘ganbarimasu!’ (I will do my best!) and upon my first encounter of K-Pop, I read in the comments section “Hwaiting!” (Fighting!/Do your best!) I can now see the reasons why…the idea of doing your best and trying your hardest seems to flow through the blood of these countries.
I am not a perfect being, but neither is anyone in the world. I can be lazy, unmotivated, apathetic, but so can anyone. But I can honestly say that I now understand the value of trying my best in every little thing I undertake in my life. After all, if you are going to do something, you might as well do it properly.
N.B. I am aware I am generalising Asian cultures horrendously in this piece, excuse the foreigner. Also, it is NEVER a good idea to work yourself into a state of exhaustion. Do your best, but also rest! 😛
Do you think K-Pop idols can serve as a good example in any way?
Can you say YOU have been influenced by them?
Please share your opinions in the comment section!