Take It From Me
Throughout the course of our lives, we have been repeatedly bombarded with well-intentioned maxims, worn to the point of becoming cliches. To prove my point, let’s review a few of some of the most groan-worthy: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Wha-how? Weren’t they our friends before they required our assistance? “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” You certainly can if you’ve read the reviews. “All that glitters is not gold”. You’re right. There’s also a plethora of other mineral riches that shine just as brightly. Why give gold all the credit?
My sassy criticism aside, I do think these phrases succinctly summarize some of the most complex moral and social truths. Let’s take, “All that glitters is not gold.” It means to say that anyone or anything that initially appears immensely physically or personally attractive, may not be with further scrutiny. Indeed, their appealing glittery front may just be a sham to hide the cruder elements within. Now look at that. Interpreting the significance of this particular maxim took thirty-eight words, when the original expression just took six. Perhaps I’m a bit verbose, but I believe I’m being fairly realistic.
Or how about the phrase, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,”? I’m sure you’ve heard it during times of uncertainty and crippling hesitation. When all you needed was a little push. In fact, this maxim bears particular personal significance for me because of the context on which it was said.
As a senior approaching her imminent graduation from high school, I was rushing to complete the various questions and essays that colleges had mandated I complete. Because I am the type of person who is constantly ridden with insecurity and self-doubt, I put off applying to a certain college until the last minute. Having only a day left before the deadline, I sullenly informed my mother that I hadn’t completed the forms and that there was no way that I was getting in even if I did. It was too late. Why bother putting in all of the effort when nothing was to come from it?
Upon hearing my pathetic excuses, however, my mother’s ears pricked up, and she firmly seized me by the shoulders.
“Anusha, you have to apply.”
“We’re running out of time,” she interrupted, quickly turning to look at the clock.
“Let’s get it done. Let’s send in the application.”
Shocked by this unexpected turn of events, I threw my hands in the air.
“Why bother, mum? It’s not as if I’m getting in anyway!”
“Nothing venture, nothing win,” she answered resolutely before harrying me upstairs.
Several hours of answering background questions, writing personal essays, experiencing frustration, anger, and agony (perhaps I’m exaggerating just a bit) later, I’d finally finished and submitted my application to the university.
“Happy?” I asked my mother tiredly, on the verge of mental collapse.
“Yes,” she replied, beaming as she did so.
After several months of grueling uncertainty, I was surprised to learn that I had been accepted into that very school. I’m actually going there this fall. And I owe it all to my mum and her clever maxim: “Nothing venture, nothing win.”
Because if I didn’t put in that initial investment of time and effort filling out that application, I wouldn’t even have a chance of getting in. By putting my best foot forward, I ultimately had nothing to lose but everything to gain. So, thanks mum. Thanks for giving me that extra push.