A Simple Question

It’s a new year, a new semester, and for some us it may be a whole new chapter in our lives. Whatever stage you’re at, whether that’s first year or final year, I think now is the perfect opportunity to ask you one, simple question.

What do you want to achieve this year?

I know it’s a tricky question and I do apologise for making you think when semester has only just begun. How about I offer you a reprieve? I’ll go first and tell you my answer. At the end we’ll see if you can come up with one yourself, okay? Okay.

Late last year I asked myself the very same question I am now asking you. I knew I wanted to do bigger and better things but I wasn’t exactly sure what these ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ things were. I wanted to be more involved, I wanted to speak my mind; I just wanted to … live more I guess.

So, what was stopping me? Why couldn’t I just go do these bigger and better things? The answer is simple enough; fear. A fear of rejection, a fear of failure, a fear of caring what people would think of me if I decided to pursue these goals of mine.

You see, for as long as I’ve wanted to do new things, I’ve had these fears stopping me. I would make excuses. I would say tomorrow, another day, next week, next time, next year…it was just one continuous cycle of deterring change.

But then I watched a video, well actually it was two videos, that offered me some spectacular advice. The first piece of advice was that, “life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself”. This video encouraged me to love my body, to let my mind wander, and to let myself be the person that I’ve always secretly wanted to be.

In order to become this person I had to let go of my fears. I had to actually try these things that I’ve been too scared to try in the past. I had to not care about what others thought and I had to dismiss the notion of fear, of failure, and of rejection. If I didn’t they would continue to consume my actions.

To do this I changed my way of thinking. I replaced failure with success, rejection with tolerance, and caring what people thought, to just not caring at all. I told myself if I didn’t do this now, if I didn’t try to let go of these barriers holding me back, when would I? Life waits for no one and if I wasn’t living my life, if I wasn’t going to attempt to do something different this year, then I never would.

Spurred on by these words of wisdom, I was able to attempt some of these goals and was met with success. I’ve been able to write for Vertigo, I’m on the committee for the Society of Communications, and I had the best time travelling in Melbourne with a great bunch of people.

However, whilst trying to accomplish some of these goals there transpired a new fear. A fear of not being good enough. I was still fearful of failure, of rejection and the thought of appearing ignorant to my peers. I was back at square one and was annoyed at myself. I knew I could do it but I was just overcome by the pressure of the tasks ahead.

So, what changed? Well, I had some more good advice. Repeat after me, “You don’t have to be amazing to love doing something. If you enjoy it, that’s all that should matter”. I’m enjoying writing, and taking on extra responsibility. I’m happy coming out of my shell and simply being me. Who cares if I’m not the best at what I’m doing?

Practice makes perfect and everyone has to start somewhere. If you love something don’t ever be afraid to do it.

This year I’ve put myself on a journey to becoming a person that I’m both equally terrified and excited to be: my true self. There’s no doubt that I’ll encounter a number of barriers along the way and there’s no guarantee that this journey will be over anytime soon. But hey, its baby steps and I’m more than ready for the challenge.

By Isha Bassi