My first academic disappointment and how it can be useful to you

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One thing I know that I know is that I love learning. When I want to learn, I go all out to learn as much as I can learn.

However, my first academic disappointment  came the day I understood that there are often no exact simplistic answers to a complex question. I was disappointed. I do not like a situation where there will still be somewhat uncertainty after achieving a solution.

Unfortunately,  my expectation was not tenable. What is realistic is that life is not just full of risks and uncertainty,  life is risky. But some have posited that it is risky not to take risks.

When I was doing a Masters, most exam questions were set not to have a definite answers. The answer was a function of your choices and decisions. I was disappointed by this arrangement because what I was used to was answering a question with definite answers.

Again, my expectation of certainty of solutions was wrong and what is practical is that there could be multiple solutions to a single problem “depending on the context”.

How these disappointments might be useful for you

1. Be dynamic not static: In retrospect,  my challenge was that I had assumed that the world was static instead of dynamic. Look for optimal solutions instead of the only solution.  Acknowledge that there could be different ways of doing anything. This will allow you to be open so that you can recognise insightful  solutions.

2. Be contextual about life. Deal with opportunities and problems based on case by case basis. Avoid generalisation.  Do not make unwarranted assumptions. You are very unique because your conditions are unique. There can never be any two persons that have the same life. Categories do not necessarily confer exactness. Two things can be in the same category but differ in their context. Solutions and insights could be generated by positively interrogating the context of the problem even if it appears similar to previous problems or other problems.

3. Construct your life: In the end, your life will be a summary of choices and decisions you took. In fact, where you are today is a function of the choices and decisions you have made in the past. This points is about deliberately creating the things you want in your life and eliminating the things you do not want.

In summary, failure is not final. Anything you do not know can be learned. We must be active learners so that we can set our default position to learning new things.

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