Mindset story: The you have “wasted your life” guilt trip

There was once a scientific convention to which the most respected and accomplished scientists from different fields were invited from all across the world. These were the women and men who were number one in their field of work and who most certainly have done everything they could and had to to get where they were. Even though they were at the top of their fields they were asked on many occasions by their interviewers “Do you ever feel like you have wasted your life?” Every scientist felt very proud of their sacrifices and hard work and simply scoffed off questions like that with a snarky remark. But to their delight, they would not have to face questions like that on this convention as all the attendants were handpicked to ensure the right kind of climate.

The convention was hosted in an exclusive lakeside resort so that the scientists had a chance to relax in the woods or on the lake after the seminars. After the first day’s proceedings, a mathematician, a physicist, an astronomer, and a molecular biologist hired a boatman to row them around on the lake. As they sat in the boat, they discussed string theory, different universes, hypotheses, and other abstruse topics. The biologist noticed the boatman looking at them from the corner of his eyes. He asked him, “What do you think of these ideas?”

The boatman replied, “I didn’t understand any of them.” The astronomer then asked the boatman how far was he with his academic achievements. The boatman told them he couldn’t even read. “I hate to say it,” said the physicist, “but you seem to have wasted your life.” The boatman decided to remain silent as the scientists continued to discuss their theories. After a while, the scientists started to scream of joy as they have just come up with a new viable theory that combined all of their fields and it would change how all humans viewed the world. This was the discovery of a lifetime. Unfortunately, none of them had a computer, a smartphone, or a piece of paper to write it down. But they were not worried as they would have the change to write everything down when they would get back.

By now they were out in the middle of the lake, far from shore when a sudden storm whipped up. The waves started churning and heaving and all of a sudden, the boat flipped over. The boatman started swimming for the shore when he heard the scientists cry out, “Help! We can’t swim!” The boatman knowing he can’t help them called back, “I hate to say it, but you seem to have wasted your life.”

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