My first day in the MBA: grow or die!
What have I gotten myself into…
I am drained.
As an introvert, being surrounded by people is a daunting thought and an energy-sucking experience. So I resolutely pumped myself up before leaving the house and attacked the day with a good dose of optimism.
What a fail.
The morning went super well: I met with several different colleagues, taking the initiative several times, and each one of them had a unique background. A surprisingly engaging librarian gave us a presentation about the resources at our disposal.
Then we went to lunch. That’s when I started to feel my energy levels dropping. I had brought a lunch with me but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to bond with my future teammates. Except for a few giggles here and there, my contribution was pretty much limited to when we took turns describing our hobbies. I just don’t have much to say, most of the time — or it takes me ages to think about something to say.
In the afternoon, we had a team building session, where we got to know each other better (strengths and weaknesses, that kind of stuff). Then we talked about what a good team is, what behaviors are desirable or unacceptable, and what our norms were going to be.
By the end of it, I had a pounding headache, and the itching desire to cancel this whole MBA thing. But just the thought of thinking about how to go about it proved too tiresome to entertain. So instead I thought about what I was doing wrong.
Simply put: I was trying too hard. I was being way too serious about stuff that really didn’t warrant being serious at all. And I ended up tiring myself to the point of becoming impatient and borderline unpleasant. It’s very possible that I was unconsciously trying to compensate for my very forgettable presence at lunch.
There’s no way in hell I’m gonna survive this thing if I don’t radically change my approach and just loosen up. And successful people are those that can adapt in the face of adversity.
So here’s how I need to adapt:
- Know my weaknesses and accept them. They’re just not gonna disappear because I will it.
- Anticipate and prepare ways to mitigate them.
- Monitor myself, choose my battles smartly, accept losses here and there, and be in it for the long haul.
Note to self: define what my end goal is.
- Smile, you idiot, you’re gonna die soon !
So all in all, the MBA will be the opportunity to test myself. Can I adapt and transform, and win. Or will I refuse to learn the lessons my environment is trying to teach me, and crumble into oblivion.
If I can not only survive the MBA, but thrive in it, then there’s a chance I can accomplish 0.1% of what someone like Elon Musk has, which would be amazing.
If not, then I might as well have been born a frog.
Edit: here’s a very nice read that echoes some of my thoughts: