Setting Your Own Path
Oftentimes, we fail to seize the day because we are held back by worry. Worrying about what others think of us, needless worry about our appearance or social circles, others’ seeming success, our endless failures and worrying about not making it to the top. We internally create this mental maze of worry that leads to nowhere. I was always taught to think and act as an independent being – to not concern myself with social acceptance or living up to public expectations. I know that these teachings, among many others, are what enabled me to keep pushing against expectations of what others wanted me to become, helping me to find myself outside of the maze created by others. In spite of naysayers, discouragers, negativity and outright opposition, I overcame. Not only that, but I did it while maintaining my sanity and refusing to be defined by the system’s expectations and even its jaded definition of failure.
Follow Your Plan
A part of the reason a perceived failure on our part feels so intense is because we are too focused on that big picture that others paint for us. For a long time, the idea of not going to college right after high school felt like a failure because it was what was expected of me. I was always such a “good student full of potential.” Had I followed society’s agenda, I would have pursued a career field I had no interest in. Sometimes ignoring the big plan imposed on us frees up our mental capacity to be open to new ideas and experiences on our terms, regardless of any obstacles. Our journey towards what has already been predestined for us is made that much more special when we block out the negativity and expectations to allow ourselves room to breathe and just go with the flow.
Don’t Force It
In my experience, forcing situations to work in your favor for your agenda can lead to short-term triumph and long-term headaches. We do unnecessary damage to our mental well-being by crying over things we think are good for us. The hardest thing to get over is an unexpected obstacle after you thought you had been successful. I found myself having to constantly put my education on hold after the breakthrough of finally getting started. This did not mean I failed or I was giving up. This became a lesson in readjusting my carefully curated plans, leaving blank spaces for the unexpected. This perceived failure, that others attribute to your efforts after you already made it halfway through, can sometimes make you feel worse than if you never got started. It is at this point that you need to step back, and realize that your aspirations do not end because of this minor setback.
Step Back, Not Set-Back
It’s OK to give up on irrational ideals, but not OK to give into your circumstances. As we grow older, we learn more about ourselves and our priorities. This makes us able to discern what goals and aspirations we want to keep and which can be discarded. Ultimately, we have the final say in which direction we will take to emerge from our own maze. Stepping back gives us breathing room and a new vantage point to look at our maze. It took me many years to finally understand that talents and interests are not linear. Just because I chose one goal did not mean that I couldn’t add more. Once I accepted this, it became surprisingly easy to open myself up to seeing each setback as a chance to step-back and view every obstacle as a new and exciting opportunity.
Within our lives we will face many obstacles, but what we do in those obstacles are what truly define who we are becoming. Don’t be afraid and give-up when you face adversity; stay true to yourself and continue pushing through.
Pearson Students: How are you setting your own path? What have you overcome? Share by commenting below!
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