On my journeys as a casual school teacher I spent quite an interesting day yesterday talking to students about persistence and the value of persevering when it came to things that seemed to be impossible. Between the four classes of ten year olds we came up with quite an interesting list of what they considered to be impossible tasks.
Several were imaginative (being able to fly with wings), others were looking to the future (being able to live on Mars), while some of them were quite humorous (being able to stand my little brother). The majority were a mixture of childhood aspirations and struggles, the former including being able to perform front flips off of a trampoline, being able to kick a football across a field and learning how to cook, the latter including public speaking, writing a long essay for class and becoming a good speller.
I was pleased at the end of each session that the groups seemed to appreciate why we have to persevere at tasks that are hard. Sticking to what you know is limiting. Without giving something new a go you will never grow and learn new skills. Yes, some of what we face is difficult but unless we persevere we cannot improve. Maybe this challenge will spark a new passion or bring rewards we could never dream of but you will never know unless you try. Even if you fail at least you have gained the experience of trying something new. I believe that there is lots to gain by putting yourself out there and ‘sticking like glue’ to the challenges that come up in life.
Inspired I decided to take stock of some of my own list of impossibilities:
Putting myself out there and publishing a blog (well there is that one blown out of the water, thanks ninja writers).
Learning passable Japanese in order to communicate better with my Japanese sister in law (why does it have to be so hard…)?
Finishing a complete novel and finding the courage to submit it for publication.
Conquer any kind of physical challenge, to say I am a klutz with a capital K is an understatement.
Being able to feel at ease and talk with groups (any more than three people in a room with me I tend to freak out. I never seem to know what to say).
Being able to switch off any self doubts and insecurities that have a horrible habit of weighing me down. Confidence is definitely not my strong suit.
Despite my introverted, self doubting ways I have also never been one to shy away from a challenge. Looking back at my impossible goals that I have already reached it is inspiring to see how far I have come and how much further I could go.Some of the things that I am most proud of include the following:
Throwing myself into the spotlight (via debating and playing onstage as a musician since I was a young kid).
Finishing University and finding the courage to get in front of a class and teach.
Strapping on roller skates on a regular basis and getting involved with my local roller derby league. I am far from a star player (I am not sure if I ever will play, I am just learning for the fun of it) but I am a long way away from being terrible. It turns out persistence does pay off.
Learning about how to be a better writer online and actually having to submit my writing for my classmates to critique (there is no scarier moment then the second before you click the submit button).
Surrounding myself with strangers during group travel.
Facing grief straight in the face and having to keep going with life (I think if you can survive that you can survive almost anything).
While experience isn’t a cure for nerves it can certainly make facing challenges easier. I guess what I am trying to say is daring to try the impossible is so worth it, for the experience, the self growth and the unexpected rewards that come with it. Sticking with the impossible and emerging at the other side I believe is one of the greatest things that we can do. I will get back to the Japanese (eventually) and stick with my writing because the rewards at the end are so worth it.
Thank you reader, for supporting my debut on medium and for Shaunta and the Ninja writers for daring us to put ourselves out there. I think that every one of you that send your words and stories into the universe are amazing. Let’s continue to question the impossible and see where that journey takes us.