ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ Brandon Duval Benn

Three Things I Can Do For Myself

Understand Self

Before examining myself through my desires and intuitions, I toiled for many years trying to understand myself as a person, and my place in this world. I was worried by the fact that I didn't understand what my purpose in life is, and what I should do to attain it. Whenever I tried to define my purpose in life, it always seemed mundane, vague, or obtuse. This has forced me to introspect. What I realized is that there was no specific goal I wanted to achieve, but to attain an understanding of self. I came to the conclusion that once this is attained, whatever goals I want to achieve, as well as the intrinsic motivation to execute them.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates.

The more I introspect to understand my base desires and intuitions, the more that quote by Socrates resonates with me. From personal experience, whenever I think I have gained understanding (which is always tentative), something about myself that I didn’t before, I get the feeling of satisfaction. Then with this newfound understanding, I try to reinterpret my base desires and intuitions, so as to refine and redefine my purpose. What I want to do to be at peace with oneself, through a rigorous interrogation of one’s desires and intuitions, as well as external state of affairs and gradually make them align with each other, so as to reduce friction between them, and ultimately to pursue all of these desires.

While I am not convinced that there will be a point when one finally understands themselves, what I am convinced of is the fact that the endeavor itself will be a fulfilling experience.

Be Skeptical Open Minded

The second thing I feel obligated to myself to do is to always be open minded. Throughout my life I have been exposed to a myriad of different views, beliefs, and ideas. Some of which at some point I have been convinced are true. Being completely honest with oneself, one would realize that there are beliefs that I hold that are certainly false. Another fact is that I don't know which of them are false. So the implication of these two inescapable points are that I always must be ready and willing to accept the fact that I may be wrong about a number of things. This in my view is the guiding principle of scepticism that for my own benefit, I hope to adopt in life whenever I am presented with an idea that I have to seriously consider.

Exercise Discipline

Lastly, the third obligation to myself is to be disciplined. One common definition of discipline would be, to train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control. This is partially what I am referring to, however I would prefer to phrase it as; doing what I am supposed to do, when I'm supposed to do it, regardless of what I am feeling in that moment. I am not talking about some desire to endure pain, but the ability to recognize that what I want to achieve in life isn't easy, and I must be willing to sacrifice in order to get it. I must not ignore the forest while looking at the tree. The things that I am doing now all play a role in the bigger scheme of things.

Three Things I Can Do For My family

Show gratitude to parents

My family did their best to provide for me and my siblings. Both of my parents sacrificed greatly for our benefit and they did their best to bring us up in the way they thought was right, to instill their values and morals onto us. Despite their various shortcomings, I am still very grateful for all they have done for us as children, and for all they are still doing for us now as adults. Now as an adult, I feel indebted to my parents to assure them that all those years of sacrifice and hard work paid off, and now that I am everything they hoped I would be, and perhaps even more.

As a child, I didn't feel any pressure to meet their standard as to what was expected of me, but based on what they tell me now in adulthood, it would seem as though I have somewhat met if not all, but most of their expectations of me. My mother is just relieved by the fact that I eventually pulled myself together after high school because according to their own account, I was an uninspired student. My father is one of ten children, and my mother, one of just two. Between both sides of my parents' siblings' children, my older brother and my sisters are the only ones to have completed at least a bachelor's degree at university. My father on the other hand is proud to remind everyone of this fact.

By continuing to work hard and to put in to practice all of the values taught by my family and upbringing I am showing gratitude to them by letting them know that I appreciate everything they have taught me and I am a better person for it.

Take Care Of Family

For most of my parents' lives they have been relatively active, and healthy, but in recent years watching them become old has been depressing. It is a reminder of how fleeting life is and that every moment of it must be cherished. As my parents grow in age I hope to be able to ease their discomfort, and allow them to enjoy life. I want to be able to provide for them now, as they did when I was a child.

I am very close with my siblings, and I feel indebted to ensure that their well-being is maximized. When I can, I sacrifice for them, and I work towards being able to have the stability to extend that even future. Some of them already have children and I want to be in their children's lives as well.

Prepare For Future Family

I hope to one day have children of my own. I would like them to have the upbringing I had, and what I wished I had as well. I hope to instill in them values and morals that I think are important, such as duties to themselves and others, how to practice love, to be humble, and to question everything.

Three Things I Can Do For Society

Improve Quality of Life

As someone who moved abroad in hopes of furthering my education, and ultimately, my career, the question of what I want to accomplish in life is always recurring. We are shaped by the environment we grow up in and this plays a big role in what we value, so depending on where one grows up and the social and economic conditions play an important role. I am from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a small country in the southern caribbean. Although not a poor country, there is much to be desired in terms of infrastructure, chiefly technology.

From a very young age, I've always been fascinated by technology and the effect that it has on our lives. As a teenager I started dabbling in my own little technological projects that at the time I thought would become a product that people would want to use. At the end of high school, I didn't know what the next move would be for me, as my family couldn't afford to send me off to university, and my grades were short of exceptional so I doubted being able to get a scholarship. So I applied for an internship at the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission. During that time I learned a lot about the telecommunications infrastructure in our country and was disappointed in how poor it was, despite being so important to the everyday lives of the people in my country.

Contrary to when I got to Taiwan, I was blown away by how developed the country was, despite being significantly worse off only a few decades ago. I was also impressed by how accessible the internet was and how all of the services that relied on it made the lives of the citizens so much more convenient. I wanted to study engineering and Taiwan was the perfect place to do so because of how well developed they are in that regard. I had a desire that one day, using Taiwan as a model example, improved the technological infrastructure of my own country, providing a platform by which all other technological innovations can be built upon so as to provide the convenience that can improve the quality of life.

Mentor Youth

Much of the problems that still plague our societies stem from a lack of knowledge or understanding. By mentoring people younger than myself, and imparting knowledge we are able to break the mind-forged manacles that stifle the progression of society. Knowledge is indeed power. I hope to teach people who are not exposed to certain information and insight, also in the process, further elucidating my own knowledge.

Support Those In Need

By virtue of the time, place, social and economic environment, we are all born into different circumstances and later on in life, much of the good fortune that falls upon us is also out of our control. In light of this fact we should always be empathetic to others, especially those in need and where possible to support them. We can be very wasteful with our spending at times, some of which can be allocated to supporting groups or individuals who are in need of financial assistance. Donating is a worthwhile endeavor that would give me a great deal of satisfaction.

Also supporting people who are oppressed and discriminated against. Be it kids who are bullied, women who go through harassment from their spouses or in-laws, be it the poor or mentally challenged who are looked down upon by others in society. I will speak out for those who are in need in an effort to strengthen human solidarity.