This story was originally written for a book of children’s stories.
Hanish always wanted to be an engineer, specifically, a computer engineer. He was absolutely fascinated with how those machines worked and the wondrous things that could be done with them. However, Hanish did not consider himself to be a very smart boy.
Hanish’s self-doubt was caused mainly due to his classmate, Aaryan. Aaryan could study for just two hours and still top the exam the next day. He could solve the most challenging problems given by his professors in a few minutes, well before Hanish could even begin to come up with a solution. He was the star student of the class, adored by his professors and envied by everyone else. Hanish felt a different emotion when he thought about him, however. It was depression.
Hanish started to believe that there was no point to his continuing engineering. When there were so many people better than him, what could he do in such a demanding field? He began to lose interest in studies and computers altogether. Once exciting topics now became a slog. All the while, he would look at Aaryan and curse his own lack of talent.
His parents noticed his sudden moodiness, and one day, his father decided to have a talk with him. “Hanish, what do you think of the new computer that just came out?”, he asked.
“Nothing, Papa”, Hanish replied sullenly.
“Hanish, you’ve been like this for quite some time now. Care to tell me what’s wrong?”, asked his father gently.
“It’s noth…It’s Aaryan! He can do everything, and I can’t do anything! Why can’t I solve sums as fast as he can? Why can’t I score as much as he does in exams? I study much more than him, yet I’m still nothing in comparison. I’m useless.”
A few moments of silence passed before Hanish’s father drew him close and placed a loving hand on his shoulder. Hanish started sobbing into his shoulder. After he had calmed down, his father slowly answered, “Hanish, remember this. There will always be people in this world who are better, more talented, and more creative than you are. However, that does not mean that you lose faith in what you are doing. Everyone has their own set of talents that they come into this world with. What matters is how you utilise them.
You have a goal, to become a computer engineer. Focus all your efforts into achieving that goal. It does not matter how many people are better than you, for you are not them. It does not matter that you stumble and fall, for you will eventually rise back up. Trust me son, hard work is the great equaliser. Do it, and you will see your dream come true.”
Hanish took his father’s words very seriously. From then on, it did not matter that Aaryan answered a question faster than him, Hanish would go home, take his time, but manage to solve it himself as well. His dogged determination and hard work slowly began to show their results; Hanish stood first in his class in his final examinations and gained admission to a prestigious university. He eventually became a well-respected computer scientist.
When interviewed later about the secret to his success, he replied, “Growing up, I was not the smartest of the lot. What I was, was the most passionate. I could spend hours on my computer trying to solve a problem, and in the end, what mattered was not that I had solved the problem, but that I had made the effort and tried.”