October 2015 ACT Asia writing essay sample
The driving force of progress in society is solving challenges that lead us towards living an ideal lifestyle. These challenges take on various forms, and arguably push us to test the limits of what we previously believed was unattainable. In my view, great challenges in life should be continually sought out by those with the means to withstand failure, but for a majority of people in the world, this is not the case.
It's easy to cite the personal benefits of creating or accepting challenges in life. Countless methods of measuring progress have been formulated by society, from comparative grade scales in the classroom to benchmarks for competitive athletic performance. Children, at a young age are, are encouraged to set goals and compete with peers for achievement. Those that embrace a competitive spirit go on to make this a life-long habit, pushing themselves to achieve at the highest level as Perspective Two contends. In recent decades, a new societal embrace of entrepreneurship as the ultimate personal challenge provides an interesting example of this high benchmark to succeed is set by Silicon Valley, which encourages startup ventures to create world-changing ideas so lofty that a majority fail. This failure is not frowned upon, but rather regarded as personal growth and experience gained towards eventual future success. Pushing ones limits to the extreme, even resulting in failure or exhaustion, is a surefire way of testing mental and physical limits. When these personal boundaries are found, a person gains clarity on his or her individual strengths or weaknesses as referenced in Perspective Three. For those in good health that have a fall back plan and are fortunate to live in a developed country, I believe the power of challenge is a privilege that should be fully seized. Personally challenging oneself to change the world has led to many leaders creating revolutionary global technology companies that now reside in Silicon Valley (HP, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, etc.). However, these conditions do not apply to everyone.
For a majority of the world, careful consideration should be taken before setting extreme goals or challenges. According to the World Bank, nearly 80% of the world's population still lives on less than $10 per day (around the hourly minimum wage in many parts of America). Those that grow up in developing countries face burdens and challenges daily that people from developed countries have trouble fully comprehending. Families pool resources together and save every dollar they can in order to afford food and shelter. Should a member of a family decide to take on unnecessary risk or undue challenge by starting a business or engaging in a volatile profession, it could add "stress and unhappiness" to not only themselves, but to those that depend them. So in this circumstance, I agree with what Perspective One contends that it is foolish to seek excessive challenge in life.
While it would be nice to have a more clear-cut way to advocate the benefits of embracing challenges to promote personal growth, the reality is that this course of action would be consider selfish and irrational in many parts of the world. Each person has a complex situation to consider before making choices. They must evaluate their individual situation - including health conditions, socio-economic status, education attainment, support network, mentors available, ability to support dependents, aptitude, and persistence - before blindly accepting challenges that could have devastating consequences if failure ensues.