“I’m standing on a mountain top, the sky meeting the horizon in front of me, lush green plains below. It’s morning and a fresh wind rises up from the plains, stirring the tall strands of grass at my fingertips and the ornate jewelry plaited into my hair.

I have a spear in my hand, a shield on my back, and I’m ready to go to war.
This Pocahontas meets Motivational Poster scene comes to mind whenever I find myself on the threshold of a big life change. (I also have epic music playing in the background.) I’m about to finish my BSc program and start a new chapter — my MSc – and I’m giddy with nerdy excitement. It’s the feeling a runner experiences at the starting-line: the race hasn’t begun yet, but something inside the runner has already shifted; she’s committed herself to the race, thereby already achieving a certain victory.
What causes a person to change? What causes runners to start running, politicians to switch parties, or a student to look at the world differently than she did a year ago? And why does it take some people much longer to go through a phase that others complete much more quickly? Why do some students take ten years to complete a study program that others complete in five or six?
People say, ‘Time changes everything’, but actually change occurs as a result of experiences and knowledge – time has little to do with it. If a person is satisfied, she won’t change. Thus, personal development may only come through dissatisfaction, be it traumatizing hardship or a simple yearning to learn more, experience more, be more. The more dissatisfaction there is, the better the eventual outcome: whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. People that go through more changes in life are more likely to succeed, because with every change they gain the ability to adapt to their new circumstances.
This concept can also be applied on a global level: think of countries like the Netherlands, where dry land and natural resources have always been scarce, yet somehow the Dutch have come out with the best shipbuilders, dikes and dams, landscape engineers, and a strong economy. Now think of countries with plentiful natural resources, warm climates. Generations of their inhabitants have lived comfortable lives, yet their countries’ economies often severely lag behind.
On a different level, the children of the powerful, famous or self-made wealthy tend to be less ambitious than their parents. Considering that they grew up in environments they were perfectly content with, it’s no wonder they have little ambition to change it. To paraphrase Paul Arden, founder of one of the world’s largest advertising firms, nearly all rich and powerful people are not notably talented, educated, charming or good-looking. So what makes them rich and powerful? Their own desire to be rich and powerful.
So the two ingredients to success in life are hardship and ambition. The cooking time, however, varies from person to person. Like a rose bush absorbs water and nutrients, a person will absorb experiences, feeding his or her ambition, and when the time is right will blossom to full potential! (Queue epic music.)”

Olga Motsyk, from Ukraine, is a BSc aerospace engineering student

Mariëlle van Kooten (22) is the new leader of the Delft city council political party, Stip (Studenten Techniek In Politiek). She will lead Stip in the Delft city council elections scheduled for March 2010. Van Kooten, who studies aerospace engineering at TU Delft, has called for more investment in entrepreneurship and start-up companies, and a coherent marketing strategy for Science Port Holland. Moreover, she wants to see more investment in Delft as a bicycle-friendly city, and more housing for young people and students.

Editor Redactie

Do you have a question or comment about this article?


Comments are closed.