Billy Zhang

an undergraduate student,

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How to cope with the depression resulting from the gaps between reality and ideal?

We all have ideals, practical or somewhat impractical.Of course,these so-called"impractical ideals" will face lots of barriers when we move forward,as they are a little bit ahead of the reality.What's worse,these barriers make us down and less motivated.As a result, we will sink into depression. I'm afflicted by these depressions,could anyone offer some advice drawn out from their own personal experiments?MANY TNANKS!

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    May 5 2013: Could you say more about what ideals you had that turned out to be impractical. Maybe they weren't impractical, maybe you could have achieved them with a little more thought, or courage, or help from the TED community.
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      May 6 2013: Sorry for the vague description of my ideal. But I was intend to raise a question on ideal and reality which has a general meaning. Well, my ideal is to become a scholar on physics, especially something about nuclear energy and mechanics.I want to enjoy it and maybe contibute to the welfare of the whole world(Though it seems somewhat iname,I will always keep my promise). rather than take it as tools for my titles or awards.However,without the title, it's hard for us to have access to the advanced facilities and so on.Maybe I was assertive and doesn't get the truth and how I wish I were completely wrong...

  • May 5 2013: Study Lao Tzu. Long lasting Peace resides in the Valley.....not the Mountain Top
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      May 5 2013: Thank you for your deep understanding of ancient Chinese wisdom.

      The reason for I coming up with the question is that I want to behave naturally.Maybe my idea is more similar to a radical Cinese philosopher, Li Zhi(李贽), who is strongly against anything that is not the authentic reflection of his mind.

      Yes, the long lasting peace lies in the valley rather than the mountain top,and I think that once I can achieve my ideal " live a academic life that I can enjoy my study in physics without considering any trying things such as the title and awards", I will live a qiuet life. I dislike be on the mountain top, but I think that I must climb the high mountain to reach my favorite valley. Though it seems a little bit strange and contradictory, it's somthing true on the earth, I suppose.

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    Gord G

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    May 5 2013: You create your reality. An ideal is an uneducated perception. The gap is simply a refusal to adapt to the learning process. In essence it's a desire to have the world conform to your perception, rather than dealing with the the discomfort of ignorance. I think joy is found in the acceptance of the verisimilitude of life and in acknowledging the limiting nature of ideals.
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      May 5 2013: Yes,I gradually feel that the world won't become what I suppose it to be or anyone else supposes. We human beings are just elements of the beautiful and colorful world. Thus,I can never "command" the world to work for me.On the contrary,we'd better be well-prepared for the potential unexpected changes.Now, I feel that my thought is rather laughable and I should be more practical. I must become excellent enough and one day,maybe I will change the world and make up the gap, who knows.? BUT at first, I must improve myself to be someone who are qualified to change the world.COME ON! FIGHTING!

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    May 4 2013: The most important thing about depression, I think, is that people can mean quite different things by the word.It is one thing to feel disappointed and temporarily not motivated or even really upset when you do poorly on an exam or struggle with some homework or break up with your girlfriend. It is another when you can't get out of bed for a week or more or when you feel you might hurt yourself or someone else.

    If you mean the latter- long stretches of feeling hopeless or unconcerned with your own safety, stop in at your college health center and talk to someone.
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      May 4 2013: Thank you for your input, Fritizie!
      I think that my situation is more similar to the former one but it have nothing to do with the result of exams or break-up with girlfriends(I'm still single,HAHA)and so on. I think that I dislike the rigid rules and regulations. I just want to do what I trully like(Of course, they won't break laws) and reject to do what I don't want to, However, such rigid rules force me to do things I dislike, such as learning courses I'm not interested or attending some so boring meetings. Well, the topic seems to be coverted to philosophical issue "freedom and rules".But I just don't want to waste time to do things I dislike.How can I balance them or how can I adjust my mind to accept the existence of the rules?

      Looking forward to your reply!MANY THANKS!
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        May 4 2013: Billy, it is difficult to reply from a distance. Some ideas to consider are whether you know and can talk with people who have gone through the system and come out understanding the value of courses that do not now interest you. I know you are at university but I will take an example from lower education.

        Once a week I work with students at a community college whose math is not at a level that allows them to pursue either academic or vocational certificates at the college level. The youngest students are nineteen, but they can be fifty.or older. Among my students there, the most common reason they are so far below where they need to be is that it always felt too boring to them to memorize the multiplication tables. Here we have perfectly bright men and women with a low tolerance for doing something that did not interest them which then sharply limited them in the directions they could take thereafter.

        You mentioned rules and regulations. Some rules are ridiculous and you might assess whether you and other students have a chance of working toward a change in those rules rather than simply being depressed about them. Sometimes a rule make sense for some people but not for you but you can, with thought, understand why the institution cannot make exceptions- because it is either too administratively complicated or a matter of equity. An example is that some places do not allow small children or dogs even if your small child or dog are perfectly well behaved.

        You might focus on the pleasure you get in doing things that interest you and give yourself little rewards for doing the things you have to do that don't.

        I don't have to tell you that not all tasks a life includes are equally interesting. Taking out the trash is an example. Taking foul tasting medication now and then is another. But most people cannot just delegate these tasks to others while retaining only the tastiest morsels for themselves.
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          May 4 2013: I'm deeply moved that you treat my "absurd idea" so seriously, which is often laughed at when I talk to my calssmates. They often interupt me impatiently and end the conversation with words like "Hey, stop dwelling on such a meaningless idea". Anyway, I appreciate it that you are so kind and warm-hearted about the question from a freshman.Many thanks!

          I know that rules are of significance and there is a old saying that goes "Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards". Making some exceptions out of regulation will cause a lot of troubles.Sometimes, I also feel contradictory and think about the future life:All people can not find a job satisfing their interests totally and the most successful person is not someone who are engaged in their ideal jobs but one who can enjoy his current job.I know that once I just pursue what I like instead of something useful in the modern society, I will find it hard to make living after I graduate.Thus, I will reconsider my choices on courses and gradually develop my interests in them.

          Fritzie,you make my day and I will treasure such a valuable conversation forever.Thank you!

          GOD BLESS YOU,Fritzie!
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      May 4 2013: Thank you,Kate! As a newcomer to TED, I'm not familiar with the themes in the former talks.I will watch them in time, and I think that I will gain something useful.
      MANY THANKS to to your reply!