Rise and Fall

A beautiful song by Craig David, adapted from Sting’s famous ‘Shape of my Heart’, tells of the personal story and career of a pop star’s fall from grace, as although he fulfils his lifelong dream of becoming an artist, he succumbs to the temptations of the entertainment industry and is eventually plunged into self-destruction and oblivion. I like this song, which I first heard in 2004, when I hit arguably one of the highest peaks of my life, since it somewhat echoes my own personal life experience. It is no secret that life consists of many ups and downs and no matter how awesomely good or bad one is, there are bound to be some good and bad times. Nobody can soar high above forever, nor is it possible to suck at everything you do. The really interesting points of one life are the pivotal moments of realisation and epiphany which drive one to critically examine oneself and make a conscious decision and effort to change, and these points of turn are usually the highs and lows of one’s life. The great paradox, therefore, is that it is usually at the low abysmal points that one begins to seek self-improvement and climb upwards, since one is absolutely not content with one’s position, and similarly it is at moments of peak glory that one slides and falls since one is at a lost as to what else one might do or where one might go. What we consider to be our darkest moments are hence often triggers for something great, as they motivate us towards self-improvement and personal development, and the moment we reach the height of our aspirations we may suddenly feel lost and aimless and there begins our decline. One of the most painful moments of my life I experienced when I was 13 years old, which made me think hard and examine myself. It sowed in me some electric seeds of motivation and gave me an incredible drive, since I absolutely did not want to experience those nasty feelings of disappointment and ridicule ever again. It made me into somewhat a recluse, as I could not really be bothered to deal with other people (close and intimate friends aside), though my work performance did improve as my efforts for self-improvement gradually and steadily paid off. There followed some great highs (with some lows on the way, but generally there were probably more positives than negatives) and in 2004 I reached a stage in my life where I felt very comfortable and complacent, as I felt that I had reached all my goals. It was a wonderful feeling being on top of the world, a total contrast to the abysmal darkness and pain which I had experienced four years prior, though what followed was a period of transition and emptiness as I was trying to figure out what to do with myself, and it was not pleasant, that feeling of being lost. A long time has since passed and I am now in a totally different stage in my life. Nonetheless, I still consider it a truism that our greatest failures generate our greatest successes and our biggest victories lead us to our biggest falls. So says Steve Young. It all comes and goes like spirals, and the important thing is to persevere and keep moving. Don’t give up.

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