[11/12/2016-18/12/2016]                                                                                                         Entry No.5

Title of Post: Choking on our Own Aspirations

Have you watched the latest addition to the long line of Star Wars movies? Star Wars: Rogue One premiered two days and I had the privilege to watch it in the cinema. I wouldn’t say it was the best Star Wars movie ever: it had it’s flaws and all but it was thoroughly enjoyable and I walked away from the cinema feeling satisfied. For one, I saw Donnie Yen, a prominent Asian kung-fu movie star, actually kicking ass and delivering a memorable perfomance as Chirrut Imwe. K-2SO was brilliant as the blabber-mouthed, reprogrammed Imperial droid, and last but not least, I finally got to see the legendary villain Darth Vader in action. No, Hayden Christensen was shit as Vader or Anakin, case closed.

Minor spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched Rogue One yet, but in a memorable Darth Vader scene, the iconic villain performs a Force choke on the movie’s main villain, Director Krennic. As the poor guy drops onto the floor, squirming for breath, Vader turns around and says arguably one of the best (or the worst, depending on your taste) Darth Vader line in Star Wars history:

Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director Krennic.

Whether it was a good Vader line or not, it is up to you, but one thing is for certain: everyone chokes on their aspirations sometimes. That one guy who stays up late every night to study Pharmacology, then proceeds to ask (and consequently irritate) the doctor/lecturer with questions about minute details of the MFO (Mixed Function Oxidase) pathway and the CYP3A4 inhibitors, chokes on his aspirations practically every night. That guy who thinks too highly of himself and thinks lightly of others’ study methods chokes on his aspirations every now and then, when he glances over at another person’s notes, only to find that person is still studying last week’s lecture notes.

Heck, even I, a lazy slacker, choke on my aspirations when I decide to skip some lectures, thinking that I don’t need to rely on the lecturer for vital information. The thing is, choking on one’s pride, dreams and ambitions is a pretty common thing, especially if you are an ambitious person. It’s not that having ambitions is a bad thing, it’s just that having too much ambition and biting off more than we can chew can be detrimental to our well-being.

Take me for example. I got asked a question by my friend about the structural changes in the embryo near the umbilical cord. To be honest, I had no idea what the diagram was about, and I hadn’t attended the lecture. In fact, I have not even gotten to reading the notes. However, instead of admitting my lack of knowledge, I chose to look up the answer on the Internet and made things up as I go along. In the process, I confused vitelline ducts and vitelline vessels, which are completely two different things and made a fool out of myself. After realizing my mistake, I tried to cover it up, and insisted that I was right all along.

When ego gets in the way, one can become pretty prideful and stubborn. It’s a common trait among humans, and even smart people can become like that. And that’s when we choke.

We don’t necessarily die outwardly from choking on our pride, but rather we start killing off the things we hold dear. Our relationships with friends, family become strained, and we shave off our EQ a little by little. We become easily infuriated when things don’t go our way, and we gradually lose track of ourselves. Pride begins to blind us and lock us in a prison cell made up of our boasting and overconfidence. Eventually, despite the academic knowledge we may come to possess, we become hollow, egoistic shells of our former selves. No longer eager for knowledge but bitter all the time.

They may be small, petty and trivial details of our life as a whole, like our tone, our mindset and our thoughts, but together, they may form a lump in our throat and when it is finally big enough, choke us. So, is it better to not have aspirations, dreams, goals?

No, because these are the things that drive us forward. But as we move progressively faster towards our goals, we must take heed of that lump in our throat and be careful to not cause cell necrosis due to the lack of oxygen which would then cause ischaemia heart disease, resulting in total heart failure…

Oops, there I go again, thinking my knowledge of medical jargons prove my superiority.

Well, in short, in layman’s terms, in the words of Darth Vader himself:

Be careful not to choke on your aspirations.