What I have come to learn with my little experience of the world which is actually, 'my entire lifetime', is that 'the future' is just a big marketing strategy. It's a ploy to make us work.
When we were tiny little kids, we were told to study so that we can get a toffee or so that we can go out to play. So we studied that day so that we may wonder, "Melody itni chocolaty kyun hai?" and life was good.
When we grew a little older, we were told to study so that we may do well in our exams. If we did well in our exams we would get a new bicycle. So we studied the whole year and some of us actually got a new bicycle. Those who didn't knew that even though they didn't the bike, they couldn't let their grades fall, cause if that happened, some privilege would be taken away, and we continued to study. Then one day, when your bike was too small for you, you got a new bigger cycle and were told that this was the cycle you were promised, and even though it was a couple of years late, you were more than happy to accept it.
In senior secondary school, you were told that if you study, you'd get into a good college and some new liberties would be given to you. But by then we had learnt that all these 'rewards' that we had been getting for studying were bound to come our way as life went on and were not things you had earned by studying.
So, some of us chose to study, while some didn't. The case is the same in college.
How was a future a marketing ploy then?
What people in marketing do is that they launch a product with an irresistible offer like buy one get three free or something of that sort. In our cases, the toffee.
We use their product a few times thanks to their scheme, by then we get used to the product, or we reject it. But no kid can reject a toffee, so we get used to it.
What the marketing people do next is that they gradually withdraw the offer and offer schemes just like their competitors, but they now have some of the market captured. In our cases, the toffee was given as an incentive only on those days where we absolutely refused to study, on most days we would cause we had realized that other than being boring, studying wasn't really that bad.
The main principle behind marketing is to convince people that they would be happy to have a certain product. They might not need it, all you have to do is make them believe they would be happy to possess it. Everyone needs to be happy, so the customer believes that he needs the product. The money he has to spend for it is the only consideration. In our cases, it was time and in some cases popularity in social groups that would have to be sacrificed to study and excel in academics. There was something else - joy.
Some of us got fooled (myself included), that if we keep spending our time and energy into studying, we would get some product that would make us very happy. Unlike buying a product, in which case the product is delivered to you in your hands and you feel satisfaction or joy immediately, our product never quiet gets delivered.
We have worked to get into whatever college we are in, looking to be happy. We are now working to land a job, hoping that it will lead to joy.
We will work hard in our jobs hoping for more money, which would bring happiness.
We would continue to work and work and work till we get that happiness.
One day, we will die hoping to find it in heaven.
What I have come to realize is that now I know the marketing strategy. I am not going to invest forever, waiting for a product that will never be delivered. I will just invest enough to get a decent house, a decent car, a decent wife and enough money to raise a decent family. Other than that, I will do things which bring me joy right now cause there is no bank account that is keeping track of the amount of happiness you deserve. There is just one in your head that keeps track of how much you have received. And I'm gonna make sure that the counter on that account is always ticking.
NOTE: This post started out as a comment to my friend's post (Dreams. Future; near and far) but became a full fledged post.