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  • There's an ancient saying in Korean that goes:

    우물을 파도, 한우물을 파라.

    which can be romanized to

    Oo-mooruhl pawdo, hahn Oo-mooruhl pahrah.

    For the longest time, I understood the saying to mean that
    when you're pursuing a subject of study, or anything
    in life,... you must do one thing, without being distracted
    by other subjects of study, or other interests.

    Because if I translate the saying literally, it says:

    To dig a well, dig just one single well.

    Given that I was distracted my whole life pursuing a variety
    of fields, ranging from music, design, computer science, theatre,
    and dance, I was secretly ashamed of admitting to others that
    I lead such a lifestyle.

    Needless to say, many elders in my life also reinforced this belief
    by constantly asking me when I would finally get my act together
    to focus on one field of study...

    But it wasn't until recently that I realized that I completely
    misunderstood the saying.

    What the saying meant was that to see what is at the core of something,
    whether it's a subject of study, a business, or, more importantly,
    who you are,...

    you must not give up.

    Because just like when you're digging a well, you will not see
    any clear indication of progress until that very last moment, when you
    hit the bottom and the water sprouts out.

    It takes an exorbitant amount of effort to uncover what is at the heart
    of something, whether it's a subject of study, or who you are. You will
    continuously experience what may feel like failure, or waste of time.
    Sometimes you will even quit one thing to pursue another. But that does
    not mean you're giving up
    . As long as you do not give up, as long as you
    keep trusting yourself, as long as you keep the faith, you will succeed
    in your search, you will achieve your dreams.

    Because what's keeping us from succeeding is nothing but our false
    belief that we must fit ourselves into these labels that somebody else
    made up. Graphic designer, a dancer, a computer scientist, etc...
    The supposed "one subject of study"

    Who cares what these are? When you get to the heart of who you are,
    you will realize that none of these labels can really define who you are.

    And with that realization, I can finally translate the saying correctly:

    To dig a well, you must not give up.

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