Although I hear many people around me complaining about getting older, there is definitely one major reason why we should be grateful about the extra candles added to our birthday cakes. Because everyday we learn new things and get wiser, not only from formal learnings but also from the experiences we gain and the mistakes we make. If I look back to ten years ago, when I was 15 years old (how time has flown by so fast!), I could create a whole list of things that I would have done differently with the knowledge I have gained so far. So, I have decided to sum up the 5 most important lessons that take the cake and which I wish I could have given to my ten-year younger self.
Fear less, enjoy more
From a very young age, I love to try new things and thrive on new challenges. However, they did come with some fear. Fear that it will not work out the way I wanted. Especially when I was 15 and start making my own choices, I began to fear whether I will be able to realise my dreams. Fear that turned out to be completely unnecessary, since most of the things I feared about did not happen. Although fear is a feeling that comes naturally when facing uncertainty, I gradually taught myself to recognise it as soon as it pops up and try to go into my emotions of fear. Every time, I ask myself: ‘Where does my fear come from and why I am feeling this way?’. I try to break down the substances of my fear. Then it always reminds me of the fact that fear is something that exists only in my mind. So instead of letting it to hinder me to use my full potential, I focus on enjoying the journey of getting there and combine it with hardworking & hope.
Failure is key for success
At the time I was 15 years old, I can say that I get upset or sad easily if things did not went the way I wanted them to go. Especially if I have put excessive efforts in it. Gradually I came to accept and embrace the fact that hardwork and effort you dedicate to something, does not per se lead to the attainment of that specific goal or dream. That is why I have taught myself to simply enjoy every part of the process, instead of putting too much pressure on myself as if it was a battle that I need to get myself through. This may sounds ironic, because the major reason of beginning the process in the first place is to achieve the ultimate goal. But believe me, the more you shift your focus from attaining the end destination to simply enjoying the path towards it, you will even get more inspired as you obtain unexpected insights that will not come if you are so tight about the finishing line.
Do not overrush things, take it one step at a time
It is good to have a clear ambition or goal in your mind, and have it written down on paper, that gives direction to your life but do not be too overwhelmed by it. Great things need time to develop and it is okay that you are still widely dispersed from your goal. You do not need to rush. It is perfectly fine to start small and gradually work up to your aspiration. The things I take on when I was a 15-years old girl all seemed to have a tiny impact and unrelated to my destination, such as the part-time job as cashier or the Chinese language course. 10 years later, I realised that they actually led me to where I am today and are still sculpting my future, and I am so grateful for them.
Raise your voice
When I was younger, I was not necessarily shy but I do reflect a few times before saying things hard out loud. This is because I do not want to hurt people and try to please everyone around me. Although it is not a bad thing to wanting to befriend everyone, it is also very important to clearly state your point even if this differ from what others think. Even more, people will thank you for bringing new insights to their perspective. Especially during my university years, I feel at ease to challenge people and go into discussion with people, supported by well-structured arguments.
I know it sounds cheesy but I would definitely tell my younger self to be grateful for everything in life, instead of counting the situations that went wrong or things that I could not have. By doing this, I would have prevented myself from getting on the downwards spiral of attracting more bad things. With an attitude of gratitude, I could alleviate the impact of unfavourable happenings by reminding myself of many other things that I should be happy for. Also, grateful thinking, instead of dwelling on the things you lack, will open your eyes for new opportunities.
Actually, my 15-year old me, I really wished I could turn back time and told you these 5 lessons so that you could do things differently. Unfortunately, I can not. That is why I keep learning from my mistakes, so that some day I do not have to wish I could tell my younger self anything anymore. What would you wish you could tell your younger self? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time!