Why Is Chinese So Hard To Learn?

Chinese is notoriously hard to learn, and with good reason. It is the bane of many Asian students, who spend day and night studying it. Likewise, many westerners and foreigners alike struggle to comprehend the language, even after months and months of constant learning. But why is it so? Why is Chinese so hard to learn? In this article, we shall discuss the possible reasons behind this phenomenon. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: High Stroke Count Per Character

Source: https://www.thatsmags.com/china/post/13288/most-complicated-chinese-characters

One aspect of Chinese that drives many crazy is the number of strokes required to write a single character. Each Chinese character has an average of 12 strokes, making it more complicated than its English counterparts. because of the complicated nature of each character, many struggle to write its characters when first starting out. Furthermore, the Chinese language has 8105 unique characters! Compared to the English’s language mere 26 alphabets, Chinese is a monster. It is exactly because of this that learning new words in Chinese is difficult and require a higher form of memory. Not convinced? The above image contains one of the most complicated characters in the Chinese language. Try writing that.

#2: Words Can Have Vague And Numerous Meanings

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A single character in Chinese may have different meanings, many of which might be vague and hard to apply. Unlike that of English, many Chinese words do not have a direct meaning and may only be used in certain conditions. This makes it very difficult for a learner or beginner to differentiate when to use a word and when not to do so. Thus, phrasing and conjugating words become challenging and require much skill to accomplish. For example, the phrase “反弹” means rebound. Yes, you might think that rebound only probably refers to the rebound of a credit card or basketball. However, “反弹” also can mean backlash or repercussions! As can be seen, Chinese words often have abstract meanings that can be hard to grasp.

#3: Words That Sound The Same Can Have Different Meanings

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This adds to the confusion of the Chinese language. Different characters with different strokes can sound the same! Yes, you read it correctly, many characters sound the same. As such, many phrases may sound identical and may be difficult to differentiate. Again, this makes conversation very difficult to conduct, as a listener might have to infer the phrase’s meaning by considering and analysing the immediate context of the conversation and the relevant sentence structures in which it is used in. This intuition is not so easy to pick up and it may take years before it clicks in your mind.

Conclusion

In short, Chinese proves to be a infamously difficult language to learn, not just because of its complexity, but also because of its unintuitive nature and heavy emphasis on memory. Of course, learning Chinese is not 100% rocket science and can be achieved. It would just take more time and effort to master compared to other languages. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Thanks for reading!

Fibonacci Sequence In Python

In my free time, I decided to do some programming. As part of my “programming spree”, I decided to see if I could generate a Fibonacci sequence in Python. And yes I could! I thought that it was amazing and I wanted to share it with you guys. This post will be a very short one, but I hope that this post can show you how simple yet powerful Python can be. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#parameter "no" describes how long you want your sequence to be
def fibonacci(no):
    nicelist = [1, 1]
    first = 1
    second = 1
    third = 0
    if no <= 0:
        return "Nonsense!"
    elif no == 1:
        return [1]
    elif no == 2:
        return [1, 1]
    elif no > 2:
        for i in range(no-2):
            third = first + second
            nicelist.append(third)
            first = second
            second = third
        
    return nicelist 

#will print [1,1,2,3,5,8,13] !!!
print(fibonacci(7))

Here’s How You Can Ace Your Exams

Many of us fear exams and the risk of going “blank”. With so much to do in school, how do we deal with and prepare for exams? Is there any secret to acing your exams? Well, there isn’t a fixed formula, but this article will provide some tips which you can use for your exam preparation. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Start Revision Early

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Time is of the essence and procrastination is not an option. Starting revision early is one of the best ways to do well for your exam. The reason for this is that your mind requires time to process the knowledge which it has absorbed. Furthermore, many exams such as that of Biology and Geography have enormous amounts of content, which are impossible to memorise in short periods of time. By spreading your revision time out over a longer period of time (I’m talking months), you will feel less stressed and have more time for other activities. This also gives more room for potential procrastination lapses and allows for more flexible planning. Take my advise and don’t cram. Cramming never works as your mind is not able to take large amounts of information in a single sitting. Information will just end up overwriting other information and you will not be able to remember anything. In fact, the forgetting curve, founded by Hermann Ebbinghaus, estimates that 70% of learned information is forgotten the next day. You might be able to remember everything the day before the exam, but you won’t be able to recall anything the next day.

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#2: Don’t Memorise Blindly

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Of course, memory is important. However, memorising blindly can do more harm to your test scores than good. It’s like having the material to build a house, but not having the blueprints to do so. Likewise, before memorising any content, do ensure that you have a clear understanding of the concepts behind it. For example, you could first read your textbook one or two times and check if you are able to understand its concepts. In the event that you do not understand any part of the textbook or material, do seek help from your teacher or instructor as soon as possible. Only after you are able to understand the concepts should you start memorising the content. This helps to facilitate better memory and recall. As Warren Buffet once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Memory and understanding go hand in hand. You cannot memorise without understanding what you are memorising

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#3: Use Flashcards

Source: https://www.chegg.com/play/life-hacks/productivity/flashcards-yay-nay/

Flashcards are a great tool for assessing how much you know and how much you don’t know. This helps you to identify your weaknesses and work on them. Using this strategy increases your efficiency manifold, as you spend less time working on what you already know and have memorised, and spend more time on what you don’t know and have forgotten. This is the exact reason why highlighting your notes and rereading your textbook is useless. This method, which uses passive recall, does none of the things flashcards can do. The danger of merely rereading your textbook lies in the illusion of understanding, where you might end up confusing fluency of the text with understanding. You simply have no idea of what you know and don’t know. Flashcards, on the other hand, use the concept of active recall, which prepares your mind for potential question-and-answer scenarios and strengthens retrieval pathways.

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Conclusion

This post is a short one, but I hope that the tips were of help to your exam preparation. The key to acing your exams is not intelligence, but rather your study strategy. To learn is not enough. We need to learn how to learn.

If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles!

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The Importance Of Silence

Noise is everywhere. Noise doesn’t just refer to its physical form, but it also refers to its non-physical form, which can be our anxiety, worries, burdens and other negative thoughts. We are pummelled by both physical and non-physical noise as we go about our daily lives. We have decreasingly less time to think for ourselves, to ponder and to reflect. We become too attached to the world and the mind fog that accompanies it. We notice less of the little things of life and become mindless machines. This is why silence is important. Shutting out distractions, taking a break and reflecting are just some of the things you can do to introduce some healthy silence into your life. You might be surprised, but many supposedly beneficial things in the world, such as friendship and money, can take away our capacity for happiness and drain our energy away. In this article, we shall discuss why silence matters in our lives and some ways we can harness its power. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Silence Promotes Concentration

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Silence allows us to give our full attention to a certain task, event or objective. Our brains are not designed to multi-task and we become easily distracted by background noise or certain types of music. Have you ever found yourself unable to focus on a single matter at hand and switching between tasks? A good way to improve your concentration would be to shut out all possible sources of distraction, such as your mobile devices and computer. For those of you who have read my previous articles, you might have read that listening to music can help to increase concentration. Some of you might say, “Hey, that’s contradictory! You just said silence improves focus!” The truth is both are able to improve concentration. However, be careful to music which are not distracting in nature. For example, listening to classical music can help to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. More details can be found at https://bestofwrite.com/2021/01/15/heres-why-you-should-listen-to-classical-music/. These two methods, help to remove mental noise – distracting thoughts which seek to pull our attention away.

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#2: Silence Allows You To See the Bigger Picture

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In the 21st century, we find ourselves moving from one event to another in rapid succession. We become so entrenched in the world’s events and our daily lives that we virtually have no time to step back and reflect. Reflection is a powerful tool in our path towards success and life in general. Every time you get a period of silence, do take the opportunity to think about what you have done for the day. Are you moving towards your goal? What could you do to be more productive? What were the setbacks I faced today? What can I do more for my loved ones? This thinking process helps us to plan forward and improve ourselves daily. This is how you and I can obtain success, step by step, only if we are ready to learn and reflect on what we can do better each day.

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#3: Silence Promotes Relaxation And A Healthy Mind

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Initially, some of us might find silence to be especially grating. This is indeed because we are so used to feeding our minds with countless distractions and overloading it with information. Consequently, we find ourselves craving for them and become unable to focus for long periods of time. Many of us suffer from short attention spans, as many of us have the bad habit of scrolling through social media and task switching. Silence gives our brain a chance to detox and get a hard restart. In fact, silence has been shown to promote neurogenesis, the production of neurones and improve sleep quality. For those of you who have trouble sleeping, you could try to meditate and take deep breaths at the same time. This should help you to feel calmer and better able to sleep.

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Conclusion

Sometimes, all of us need a break from the outside world. Silence is something that almost always eludes us. We must learn to understand its power and how we can utilise it. I hope that this article was a refreshing one and managed to convince you of the power of silence. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe newsletter if you haven’t done so.

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Mathematics Is More Important Than You Think

Most of us have ended up hating Mathematics in high school. It’s probably because Trigonometry and Calculus got on our nerves, or because some equations were just plain annoying. In the end, we might have told ourselves that Mathematics is nothing more than a torture device. But what if I told you that Mathematics has a greater purpose? In this article, we shall discuss the importance of Mathematics and why it is of paramount importance to the world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter (enter your email in the newsletter registration section of my homepage). Without further ado, let’s begin the discussion.

#1: Mathematics Is The Foundation Of The Sciences

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There is a reason as to why you learn Mathematics before you learn Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Mathematics serves as the foundation for the sciences and helps to build up basic problem thinking skills, before you start tackling harder problems. For example, without a good understanding of ratio, you would not be able to understand the basic workings of stoichiometry in Chemistry. Furthermore, without the ability to solve equations and understand graphs, you would not be able to apply Newton’s Laws of Motion and the principles of kinematics.

#2: Mathematics Helps Us To Better Understand The World

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The universe is ours to explore, but without the right tools, it is simply impossible. Mathematics helps to make sense of the world around and create new inventions. As mentioned earlier, it is the backbone of Engineering, Physics, Biology, Astronomy and many other sciences. With an understanding of Mathematics, we will be able to build complex machinery, spacecraft and satellites which will help us to explore the universe. Even the computer you are using right now is a creation of Mathematics. Let us take Isaac Newton for an example. To express his discoveries, he had to make use of equations and even invent a whole new branch of Mathematics, Calculus. Mathematics is the common language for all people on Earth, thereby uniting the human race in the common effort for further discoveries and the exploration of our universe.

Conclusion

So this wraps up my 4th article for the week. I decided to touch on the topic of Mathematics in this article, as I frequently notice that many of my friends dislike Mathematics for its complexity and tediousness. Mathematics, of course, can be complex and tedious at times. However, it has so many uses and its benefits for the human race are simply astronomical. I hope that this article, albeit quite short, convinces you of the importance and usefulness of Mathematics, and I hope that this will spur you to enjoy it. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like. Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next article!

Here’s Why You Should Listen To Classical Music

So, many of you might have noticed that is the 3rd post for this week. You might ask, “What? I thought you said that you would be only blogging once every two weeks or sometimes maybe once a week?” (check out my blogging plans for 2021 at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/28/my-blogging-plan-for-2021/) Well, I figured that since I have some free time, why not blog? After all, it’s my passion!


Right, so let’s focus on the subject matter at hand. For this post, let us discuss the reasons as to why you should try listening to classical music. For instance, classical music has been shown to stimulate the mind and improve sleep quality. I personally listen to classical and orchestral music whenever I read or complete a task. You might say, “Hey! Classical music is boring and old! How could I possibly enjoy it?” While it is true that classical music might be considered old, they are gems of the past and are worth listening to. This article will show you why. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. (Do fill in your email in the newsletter registration section of the website) Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: It Improves Sleep

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Studies have shown that listening to classical music helps to improve sleep. It helps to relax the mind and remove anxiety, thereby making sleeping easier. Research has shown that listening to classical music reduces nervous system activity, decreases anxiety and blood pressure. It helps to distract you from your thoughts and relaxes your muscles, getting you in the mood to sleep. This effect is corroborated and confirmed by the fact that children of all ages, including infants and school-going children, sleep better after listening to relaxing, classical music. Below is a list containing some of the best pieces of relaxing classical music to help you sleep.

  • Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy
  • Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt
  • Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie
  • Nocturne No.2, Op.9 by Chopin
  • Moonlight Sonata, 1st movement by Beethoven

#2: It Improves Memory

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As mentioned above, the relaxing effect of classical music not only helps to improve sleep, but also improves memory. Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to memorise or learn something when you feel stressed? You’re not alone. Anxiety makes memory formation and retrieval more difficult, and stress has been shown to be one of the prominent causes of neurone death. Yes, you saw it correctly. Stress has been shown to kill brain cells and reduce their ability to function properly. On the other hand, listening to classical music has been shown to enhance memory retrieval and helps to trigger and strengthen neural pathways, thereby strengthening synapses between the respective neurones.

“Neurones that fire together, wire together.”

Donald Hebb

#3: They Are Precious Relics Of History

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There is a reason to why classical music was able to stand the test of time. Some of the greatest classics still continue to be played and enjoyed by many. The classical period has produced some of the most legendary pieces of all time, which never fail to captivate audiences and listeners of every age. In fact, many of these pieces are used as background music in movies and musicians of all kinds are required to study them, with good reason.

Conclusion

Classical music still plays an important role in the evolution of culture and heritage. For many, it has become an integral part of their lives, something they can’t live without. For musicians, the classical period is an essential part of musical history that has helped to shape our overall understanding of music and its associated cultures. This is exactly why classical music is something you and I should listen to. If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next articles!

Here’s How You Can Increase Your Productivity

It’s easy to get distracted. A notification alert from your mobile phone is enough to throw you off course. We end up procrastinating and we never get our tasks done. So, how do we increase our productivity? This article will show you exactly how to. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Without further ado, let’s hop right in!

#1: Clear Your Surroundings

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By getting rid of potential causes of distraction, you are better able to focus on your task at hand. Can’t stand that mobile phone? Put it in a separate room. Can’t stop fiddling with markers? Chuck them away. It’s that simple. Still find that you can’t focus at home? Find an environment that suits you. It could be the local Starbucks, a public sitting area or even the park.

#2: Download Apps That Lock Your Phone Temporarily

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For this, I recommend Forest. Forest is an excellent productivity that locks your phone for a selected time. While your device is locked, the app will “grow” a virtual tree, which will be added to your garden. However, using your phone before the timer ends kills the tree. This app provides you with additional incentive to complete your tasks and stay off your phone. At first, this might seem hard to accomplish. However, seeing your trees in your garden will provide you with an unrivalled sense of satisfaction and achievement.

#3: Listen To Music

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You might have thought that steps #1 and #2 were enough. However, the silence of your surroundings can be incredibly unbearable. Music helps to fill this void and quietens your mind, thereby providing you with concentration. Of course, the choice of your music matters too. Take care not to choose music that would distract you. For example, listening to rock music makes some people tap to its rhythm. I personally recommend listening to classical or orchestral music.

#4: Avoid Multitasking

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Believe it or not, when you multitask, you actually aren’t multitasking. Mind blown? What you really are doing is switch-tasking. By nature, the mind is unable to focus on two or more items at once. So, by “multitasking”, you are shifting your attention constantly from one item to another. Naturally, the quality of your work diminishes. The solution to this problem is completing your tasks in a straight line. In fact, this is a tactic used by Samurai warriors when they are outnumbered. They will position themselves in such a way that their opponents would move in a straight line towards them. This allows the Samurai to focus on one opponent at a time. This concept can also be applied to our daily lives. Instead of overwhelming ourselves, let us focus on one task at once.

Conclusion

So that wraps up 4 ways you can increase your productivity. We all know staying focused isn’t easy sometimes and that our distractions can get the better of us. I hope that this article was helpful to you and if it was so, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post!

Here’s Why You Should Listen To Music

Listening to music is something many of us do to counteract boredom and for good reason. Many of us subscribe to Spotify and Deezer, while others listen to the radio. Indeed, music is an integral part of our lives. Many of us wouldn’t be able to live without it. But did you know that it has many benefits? This article will show you why you should listen to music. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s hop right in!

#1: Music Brings Us To Other Worlds

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You could be listening to Vivaldi, Beethoven or Taylor Swift. Music offers us a break from our hectic lifestyles and brings us to other worlds. As you listen to Vivaldi’s pieces, you might imagine and contemplate the beauty of the four seasons. Meanwhile, Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries gives you the feeling of adventure and excitement. You could feel like Rambo eating that sandwich or Indiana Jones driving to work. I am unable to account for all genres of music, but you get what I mean.

#2: Music Boosts Memory

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The brain is a muscle. Use it and it grows; leave it and it atrophies. Music stimulates many parts of the mind. Like reading, listening to music ensures that our minds are in top shape and running well. Improved memory also comes with reduced stress and anxiety, which we will touch in point #3.

#3: It Relieves Stress and Anxiety

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Music shifts our attention away from our surroundings. Our feelings of stress and anxiety fades away as we listen to the music we love. For example, some intense orchestral tracks might make you feel like you’re saving the world. On the other hand, tracks with a slow tempo might help you to relax.

#4: Provides Concentration

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I think we can all agree that silence can be very grating and unbearable at times. We start to become distracted by just about everything in our surroundings. This is especially true when we feel unmotivated to complete our tasks or assignments. Slipping on a pair of headphones, however, solves this problem. The music you are listening to shuts out the world around you and focusing becomes much easier. Now Math homework feels like Mission Impossible. (Not because the Math is impossible, mind you, but rather because of the intensity of the movies)

Conclusion

Listening to music is part of being human. Our ancestors understood the value and significance of music as a form of communication, a form of enjoyment and a form of entertainment. What’s stopping us from doing the same? If this article was a good read, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post!

Why Exams Are Useless

Exam” is a four-letter dirty word no student wants to hear. Ever since its inception, it has been associated with stress and competition. Many students dread the daily trip to school all because of it. It’s also frightening to see the school curiculum revolving around exam preparation and nothing more. In my opinion, examinations themselves are not the problem as they also serve as a method for students to gauge their learning ability. What renders exams useless is the way society views exams. To most people, grades are all there is to an exam and failure is not an option. As a result, many take an exam for the sake of taking it or just to attain a grade to show off to everyone. As result, exams become “do-or-die” as students feel stressed due to the fear of failure and humiliation. This completely defeats the purpose of examinations. In this article, I will discuss how and why exams have become useless in the modern world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to the newsletter!

Reason #1: Unnecessary Stress

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Because of the way society views examinations, students are pressured to excel and succeed. It’s now all about the ‘A+’ on the report card and nothing more. In the mind of a student, his/her success is wholly dependent on his/her educational qualifications. As a result, many students go to extreme measures just to obtain a desired grade. This includes forgoing sleep, long study hours and endless tuition classes. Instead of allowing students to enhance their learning, examinations now do more damage to their mental and physical wellbeing. Only if society learns not to treat failure as the end can learning be possible. Schools should also not focus solely on exam preparation and cut down on the content tested at one time.

Reason #2: The Joy of Learning is Taken Away

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Students are now given piles and piles of homework, forced to study many subjects and take exams they clearly dread. Learning now becomes confined to mere memory, answering techniques and essay writing skills. Instead of cultivating students who are attuned to the world and are enthusiastic to learn, schools produce students who have been trained to become answering machines in every respect – “If A, then B; if question asks X, I give Y.” For the joy of learning to be present in the classroom and beyond, society needs to place less emphasis on the importance of academic qualifications and a person’s learning abilities. Now, students memorize heaps of knowledge just to regurgitate it on the exam paper. In fact, most students forget all the knowledge they have learnt right after an exam and do not follow up on it, unless a future exam requires it. Evidently, most students of the modern world do not possess curiosity or the desire for learning. If you would like to learn more about the importance of curiosity and how it is relevant in the modern world, check out my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/07/the-importance-of-curiosity/.

Reason #3: Exams Become a Race to the Top

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Instead of learning for themselves, students now, in a sense, learn for others. Due to the fact that society places so much emphasis on academic success, exams become a platform to show off their intellectual prowess. Students work themselves to the bone just to beat each other and become the best among their peers. Learning now becomes all about winning. Because of this, those at the top start to become arrogant while those who are struggling at the bottom are looked down on. The truth is, life is not all about winning or losing. It is better to be at the bottom and be contented than be at the top and be unhappy. All men strive for happiness, do they not? There is no point in learning if it brings no happiness. Rather than focusing on having their students achieve academic excellence, schools should focus on cultivating the joy of learning in students. It is better to have average but enthusiastic and happy students rather than disgruntled and insecure students who have ‘A+’s everywhere.