The Struggle of an about-to-graduate Lunatic.
Again… It’s one of those days when you feel that you’re all over the place, that you’re worthless, that you’re lost, that your life won’t contribute in anything to this world…
But the thing is that I’m used to it, I’ve been dealing with this even before I could put a name on it.
So I know why.
It’s because I don’t know “EXACTLY” what I’m good at.
Actually I’ve been discovering through my experiences these last few years what I’m good at.
But nothing around me was pushing me towards it… So I decided that I’ll be pulling myself towards it.
Let me explain to you why is it the way it is and how I’m dealing with it.
Bear in mind that this is not a putting-the-blame-on-the-world kind of article, I believe that the problem is never the problem but rather our attitudes towards the problem.
Plus, I’m enjoying sharing sharing my thoughts, because it also gives me an opportunity to analyze them.
The Education System (classic..)
Our education system (all around the world) is an outdated system, using an “ à la chaîne” methodology and teaching outdated material (we live in an age in which what works this year won’t work next year); that is definitely not suited to the real life problems we have to solve and let’s not even mention that it doesn’t take into consideration our different personality types and the skills we’re naturally good at.
But thanks god (or whatever!), we got the “holy grail”. The Internet of things.
(Too Much Information & FOMO)
…we get lost in all this amazing and incredible and gigantic and sublime and fantastic (etc) amount of information and number of available sources; and then you get all this ideas and opportunities coming by because of this many information sources and platforms available online without mentioning the opportunities popping out from the constant interaction you have with people through social media…
Of course, with this kind of abundance you don’t know anymore what to choose.
Studies on happiness, have shown that abundance of choice doesn’t make you happier but may actually lead you to unhappiness/unsatisfaction because of the Fear Of Missing Out (A.K.A. FOMO).
There is also an interesting thought that Peter Drucker brought in his book, Managing Oneself; he says that, in the past, people were born and their path (career in nowadays terms) was already pre-determined, very few actually could break from their “destiny”. If you were a farmer’s son, you’ll become a farmer, If you were the son of a king, you’ll become a king. It could (almost) never get better, only worse, so the focus was to maintain that level.
Now, with a world full of opportunities sitting in our pockets and on our desks, we have too many choices. That is why I feel lost.
So I started to proceed by elimination! #ReverseEngineering
The thing is to have a criteria, the criteria I choose is what my DNA and my nurturing provided me with. I’m still exploring it though! But it is the only way I can think of that is efficient and have much more potential.
Note: Imagine instead of being taught things that we’ve already forgotten in middle school and high school, they’ve focused on helping us explore, experiment and develop our natural tangible and intangible skills? Just try to IMAGINE IT!
However, it does not end here.
Exploring, experimenting with and developing your natural capabilities is sure a crucial part of the equation but it is just the beginning.
The rest involves discipline, focus, and commitment towards your endeavors and the people around you.
This sentence is coming from someone who has dropped out so many things and let down a few amazing human beings for the sake of realizing (sometimes too late) that “this isn’t meant for me, this is not me!”
I don’t regret that; it made me realize what I was NOT good at and NOT inspiring me. But there is a limit!
Elizabeth Gilbert brought such an amazing concept in her book Big Magic, when she talks about “entering in a contract with an idea” (if possible officially).
For her, inspiration is something that is a living creature that hits you literally so it can come to life through your work. I’ve let down so many of them, but at least I can say that I’m proud of the very few I pursued until the “end”.
Right now, here is my situation:
I’m about to graduate with a Master in International Business from a Chinese university after spending almost 3 years in China. This is the central piece in my life at the moment, but I feel that I let down this idea last summer when I started saying “Oh! I just have my thesis this year”. I think I kind of broke some terms of the “contract” with this endeavor and now I have a few weeks to get my shit together and resolve my relationship with inspiration regarding this idea.
Then, as I hit 25 years old last December and I felt as such a failure, I decided that at least I should start to fully support myself. So I started teaching Chinese kids English at three different schools and now I’m settling with only two of them. It sounds amazing. But trust me you have no idea how much energy and time it takes (… not going to help with the thesis thing, right?); without mentioning that I’m someone who takes her job very seriously. I enjoy teaching, it’s in my DNA. But I’m never satisfied with the programs neither the effort I put in (because obviously I’m not committed enough).
My next endeavor that I’m preparing for, after I graduate, is not a new one actually, it’s a citizen journalism program I was involved in since 2011, and that we are right now in the process of registering as an NGO focused on women in Morocco so we can launch an entrepreneurship program for young women who are graduating or about to graduate. Why I’ve chosen this? Because that’s what I found myself good at, connecting and orienting people and organizations while sharing what I know, observed and learned… and fulfilling a purpose instead of the boss dream while being independent. This is just how I perform best! I guess, after writing about it now, the contract with the idea is somehow official, right?
Although I’ve learned A LOT, and I know I’m above average. I still have MUCH MORE to learn and I still haven’t figured out the aspects of what I’m good at.
But as long as I keep giving value, that’s what will matter to my success as an individual. We’re interdependent human beings, and it’s by giving value in our relationships and shared work and interests that we evolve from one level to the other.
Although, bear in mind that this is not a fairy tale! It takes discipline, focus and commitment; and the ever-evolving rules of organizational management still apply.
SO, this is how I choose to deal with the problem.. and as one of my first mentors told me: “Follow your Heart!” =)
I know I’m not the only one struggling, but I choose to just let it out and share it. It helps me, and maybe it may help someone knowing that they are not the only one feeling this way.