Few days ago, I went to buy some groceries in my local store. There I had a humbling experience. This might seem a trivial observation but there are subtle learnings that I took.
I asked for 10 eggs and then paid ₹25 for those. Meanwhile, a lady came and handed over ₹10 note to the store keeper and asked him to give her the eggs. In my case, I wanted 10 eggs which I knew would suffice my needs. I didn’t bother about the price that I had to pay. In the case of the lady, she had to compromise on whatever quantity of eggs she would get in those ₹10. Her limiting factor was money. She didn’t have the choice to buy the stuff she needed as much as she wanted.
I usually tell myself to never compromise on experience for money and I try to evaluate choices that I make on the basis of how much tangible experience I am getting for the price I am paying. But this time, what I experienced truly abased how I actually took all my privilege for granted. After this event, I did some introspection and learnt there have been many such events that were right in front of me but I never bothered.
This particular thing used to happen when I was in school. In my school, fees were to be paid per semester. My parents usually used to hand me over the amount to pay for both semesters. But there used to be cases where many of my friends wouldn’t pay the fees, some would delay. Teachers sometimes would humiliate students but they would act cool in front of us so we took everything at face value.
Now that I look back, I see there could have been many things going behind the scenes that I failed to acknowledge. Some parents may have low earnings, some parents could have been irresponsible towards their children or some other reason. Point is not every kid in our school had the privilege to pay fees (which were about ₹800 per semester) on time.
It is a common tendency for us to take things we have for granted. We don’t really appreciate that we have a smartphone in hand, able to afford education, comfort of having adequate resources etc. These are the materialistic and tangible privileges. Some non-tangible privileges like parents who would support your decisions, friends with a growth mindset, neighbourhood that we grew up in, etc. may also be present but we fail to appreciate as much as needed.
From that day, I try to inculcate another factor in my experience over cost mindset. That is to embrace the privilege of having the choice of choosing experience over cost. Not tangible always but keeps me at peace with my psyche.
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I am currently working on a project What After School. Here we are bunch of graduate students who are trying to help & mentor juniors. We would love your thoughts on the project as well.
Have a great time!