In high school, I used to avoid raising my hand or asking anything in class in front of the other students, as I was so shy and self-cautious that I feared others’ looks and judgment if I messed up. Mind you; I was an A-student in high school, just don’t ask me to stand up to speak publicly in class. This condition stayed with me until my first year in college in the US. When I saw how my colleagues were active and participating in classes, I felt terrible and upset with myself, which was my trigger to change. I got books on building self-confidence and public speaking. Then I went and signed up for one of the student clubs on campus and became very active, and within a year, I nominated myself and won the presidency role of the club for two years in a row. Afterward, I signed up for another club, won its presidency, and managed the two student clubs simultaneously. Those roles put me in direct contact with the podium, where I had to do lots of public speaking in front of all kinds of audiences, and from then on, public speaking became a source of energy and excitement for me.
Change happens in our lives in two ways; either we realize where we are and feel the need to change and grow by choice, or we find ourselves stuck in a corner, and the only way out is to change. The first is the ideal option, yet in many cases, never done, as it is in our nature not to fix what is not broken. We tend not to rock the boat and stay in the comfortable place that we know in fear of the unknown if we do. The other way is to be forced to change, which is the most common way for many people. When we don’t have a choice but to change, the challenge here is that change will require strong will and self-awareness for you to change and grow vs. change to a lesser self. Some find it easier to fall into the victim trap and play the martyr role vs. the more challenging track of pulling themselves up and growing.
There were times when I decided to grow because I was stuck in that awful corner, and then there were lesser times when I decided to grow by choice, but it always happened when it was time to flip a page in my life and expand. In both ways, I can assure you that nothing is more rewarding than the feeling of growth once you reap its results; it is amazingly satisfying and rewarding and makes you want to do more and more. Note that you need discipline & patience to reach this level and not just the spark that initially ignited you.
Whenever I am stuck or lost, I seek knowledge to learn what is happening, why, and how to escape it. It sounds so theoretical and scientific, but for me, that is the only way to hack my emotions. When I face an issue, I stop, reflect, and try to analyze it by journaling and writing, then read and research the problem and apply the knowledge. In parallel, I focus on the psychology of the situation as I know emotions always control our mood, so to focus on growth, I need to be in a good mood and regulate my emotions.
Tony Robbins talked about the concept of the BREAKTHROUGH that ignites your willingness to change, which is a moment in time when everything changes in your life. It changes because you now see what seemed impossible is possible and have a strong inner drive to act on it. Many of us get stuck in sadness, acceptance, anger, or any other feeling that cripples us and puts us at a standstill until one day, a moment comes that pushes us over the edge, and we realize that it is now or never, and that you feel the urge to act. Tony suggests that such a moment of change will only succeed when you have the following:
- The Hunger to Succeed. You must feel the energy, push, and hunger in your gut for such a change and success.
- Less Blame, More Action. Know that the highest level of maturity is when we claim responsibility for all that happens in our lives. Hence, change happens when we drop the victim mentality and take charge.
- Resources or Resourcefulness. The assumption that only money makes money and success come from success is false. You don’t need to have resources but be resourcefully smart.
In 2001, a beautiful and heartwarming movie called “A Beautiful Mind” debuted, where Russel Crow played the leading role of Professor Nash, a brilliant mathematician with schizophrenia. By 1994 he had won the Nobel prize in Economics. The movie tells the true story of the life of Professor Nash, who lived for many years with this illness and thought that all the people and places he met and went to were real, only to realize after years of living a delusional life that it was all in his head. It took him years to accept his condition until he had that breakthrough and decided to conquer it. His breakthrough came to him in the form of his beloved wife, whom, without her, he would have been a nobody. She was the breakthrough that made him control his illness and win the most prestigious award in the world. In his speech, while receiving the Nobel Award, he said, “I have always believed in numbers and that equations and logic would lead to reason. But after a lifetime of such pursuit, I ask, what truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. And I have made the most important discovery of my career, the most important discovery of my life. There is only in the mysterious reasons of love that any logical reason can be found. I am only here tonight because of you. You are the reason I am. You are all my reasons.”
Find your reason, your muse, your hunger, and pursue it, for there lies the meaning of your life.