I am Nothing Special


May 31, 2021

Despite the model minority myth, I am nothing special. I do not get all A’s in math. I think I am most likely going to get a better score on a true or false test flipping a coin. You may think that all Asians must be good at math. I am quite the opposite.

Imagine life where everyone expects you to be the best and excel at every subject. This may work for some people, but not me. Parents may be discouraging. They tell me all the time: “you can do much better than this.” Sometimes you may not be able to find help, even though you need it, because everyone expects you to do well. When they see that you are not doing as well as they expect, they think you just aren’t trying.

As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, recently in Atlanta, several Asian women were killed. Closer to us, on the Longfellow field, an Asian kid was verbally harassed. People live in fear that when they go out they will have the same incident happen to them. The world is going through enough with the Coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people have died. Lives have been interrupted. Millions have lost their jobs.

In this time we can be inspired by Zeng Guofan (曾国藩), an eminent politician in Chinese history. When he was a kid, he wasn’t very good in any subject, but he persisted. One night when he was memorizing a passage, a thief waited on the rafters for him to finish memorizing, so he could do his work. The thief waited all night. At last, furious, he left for he had already memorized the passage, yet Zeng Guofan had not yet finished. Later in his life after continuous defeats in battle, he wrote in a letter: “We keep failing yet keep trying.” Throughout his life, he kept trying, and eventually, he made a great contribution to the nation.

Whenever I think of Zeng Guofan and how he persisted and succeeded, even with no exceptional talents, I feel motivated. The world can learn from Zeng Guofan, the Asian community can learn from Zeng Guofan, and I can learn from Zeng Guofan. If everyone were to persist, then we can accomplish many things, such as wiping out the Coronavirus and the Hate virus, to make the world safe and loving. I will always keep trying, even though I am nothing special.


5 thoughts on “I am Nothing Special”
  1. I commend you for knowing so much about Chinese culture! Indeed, life is a marathon instead of a sprint. You will gain much from being persistent.

  2. The story is very funny and at the same time inspiring! Thank you for telling us the story. I learned so much!

  3. In this pandemic time, it is our tendency to get frustrated and pessimistic, but your strong cadence in the end brings the spirit back. It is a well thought-out, compact, and apposite.

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