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It is ironic that our very nature requires us to change and adapt, but we, as individual, are often adverse to changes. Charles Darwin talked about the survival of the fittest hinting that animals who had adapted to their environment were more prone to survive. Evolution, as it is, is a constant state of change.
Change is what made humanity move forward and landed us on the Moon and now Mars. It is what made us cross the oceans, discover new worlds and develop as a society.
As a species Humans have always looking into challenging the status quo leading us to the most incredible achievements and inventions. In the age of communication and social media, it is evident that, as an increasing global group, we tend to challenge our circumstances and seek to reshape our environment.
As individual however, we tend to see changes as threatening and we quickly develop a fear of the unknown. Rather than looking for it, we seem to try to avoid it as much as possible. We often find comfort in our habits. We try not to disrupt or, more importantly, we try to not be disrupted.
The older we get, to more experienced we become, to more “habitual” we grow. As responsibilities and social expectations accumulates, the individual is tempted to withdraw from taking risks and chances. However, because it is convenient and comfortable to remain as is does not necessary mean this is the right path.
Changes are often imposed on us, leaving us little, if any, choices about it. It is the way we choose to address these changes which truly defines our character. For centuries, fictional heroes have best exemplified the struggles and successes through changes.
Robinson Crusoe did not ask or decided to be a refugee. Life threw him down and he had to change everything he had known thus far. While he did not choose to be there, he certainly chose to rise to the challenge and become a true survivor.
Luke Skywalker wanted a change in his life. Arguably he had not envisioned how big his contribution would be in the change of the entire universe. However when the opportunity presented itself, he took the chance, and started an unprecedented journey of achievements, liberations and success.
While they might have feared the change, or its consequences, they gathered their strength and faced whatever was ahead.
It takes courage and determination to set a course on the unknown. It often take a leap of faith to choose Change over Keep.
Today, as you receive your diploma, you will be forced into a change. You are no longer students of Raffles, for some of you, you are no longer students. You may have already planned your next step which may involve a new school, a new country, a new job. This is a critical time for you, a time where you need to summon all your strength and courage, face the unknown and take your stand.
15 years ago I graduated from college and was faced with the most awkward decision, fitting in with my society or take a chance and follow a different path. I chose the latter which was a complicated one but rich in experiences leading me across 3 continents, 5 countries and ultimately here, today.
Do not fear the unknown and the changes taking place but to embrace the thousands of opportunities that will be presented to you. Keep your mind open to discoveries, remain curious and be a learner of all things.
Do not be afraid to make mistakes as you will learn tremendously from them. Never regrets your choices as they will lead you forward in your adventure.
The greatest certainty of life, bringing us all peace of mind, lies in that, while we cannot always understand the circumstances we are being given, time will unveil their purpose and help us make sense of what it was. It is therefore not our immediate concern to understand “why” but to simply acknowledge it is there and move on.
Go on, be a hero.