Crusade of Carapace
Man grows most tired standing still
Simply put, stay at one ‘place’ in your life too long, and you’ll gradually lose the drive to grow as an individual. If you’re backing out from new experiences, walking away from uncomfortable confrontations and ignoring journeys that seem far-fetched, for the most part recently, you’re suffering growth fatigue. Settling too long for something lesser than your true potential or desire will induce a resistance in the wilderness of opportunities. It’s one of a compound nature; the effects are only noticeable with time, and that’s why it’s extremely dangerous. But allow me to caution you; there’s a bigger threat.
We love our comfy zones
So why do I’d like to argue that we love residing in our comfort zones. Why? Well, because they’re comfortable. We’ve been ‘there’ long enough to feel at ease, and as a result, we see a straight line. Of course, if we do step out of our comfort zones, the perspective changes. I’d like to share how I’m trying to override one of my comfort zones, and gain perspectives to opportunities that will direct my life in the direction I want to go. But before that, I’d like to discard the term ‘comfort zone’, and replace it with something more.. uh.. natural.
A carapace is a shell; a hard protective exoskeleton found in turtles among other species. In humans, we may not have physical ‘shells’, but we do have certain characteristics and inhibitions that when brought together, resemble a carapace. It’s a part of being human; it’s a natural and simple survival strategy. A human carapace is an imaginary shell. It is a psychological filter between you and the world.
Your carapace shields you from things you fear.
Carapace — it’s a psychological thing
As much as nature governs this psychological layer, it is characterized by nurture too. Your childhood, family and friends, education, successes, failures, romance — any memory or experience that has had an impact on you as an individual, has moulded your carapace into what it is today. If you’re shy, your shell blocks away public attention and strenuous interactions. Although your carapace protects you from things you fear, they may not always be in your best interest. For instance, if you've been brought up to believe that you’re stupid and no good, your carapace will prevent you from dreaming big, which is certainly not in your best interest. Say, people strongly expect you to be very successful in a particular field — engineering, science or finance — your carapace will avert you from reigning in any other space where you may just be happier.
Reinventing your Carapace
In order to realize more of your true potential and passion, you’ll need to start asking questions. Look under your shell. Is your carapace working for you or against you? If the latter is true, it’s time to de-shell yourself.
De-shelling involves questioning your existing inhibitions, characteristics and values. It’s taking a step back and figuring out what works for you; taking action if you believe it may lead you away from the path you truly want to walk. If you want to be an entrepreneur, If you Refute the dread of failure, if you want to be an entrepreneur. Do away with the fear of rejection, if your desire is to find your true partner in crime. Demolish stage fright through practice, if you aspire to be a performer. Once you de-shell, mould your carapace into what suits you the best, scale by scale. Some scales stay on for the best; others are modified, while the rest need to be broken.
The introvert under my shell
As an introvert, I hug my carapace every day as it protects me from the crowds. This psychological filter hints on the right choices and the optimum use of my time and resources to live a comfortable introverted lifestyle. This intuitive direction presented me with a space where I can work best in the company of my thoughts and actions. Without my carapace, I would not have been able to realize this very important aspect of harnessing my absolute potential.
Having said that, you can never be certain until you’re curious enough. Don’t take anything for granted. Flip the system open, tinker where your imagination and curiosity take you, peek under your scales. In my case, about a year ago, I began by questioning whether my introverted nature was a strength or weakness. I realized that although my carapace provided me the opportunity to work best when I was autonomous and secluded, it screened me from interactions that would lead me to intriguing possibilities. Whether it was making genuine friends, asking my crush out, meeting prospective mentors or people working in fields related to my interests — I was held back by the introvert under my shell. So, I made a decision to de-shell.
After a few months of trial and error, I was still relatively happy as an introvert. However, I wasn't content closing myself to new and unfamiliar experiences with promising possibilities. To solve this, I decided to expend the limited energy and time reserved for social interactions in the most meaningful ways possible. Without further adieu, I began restoring my carapace.
I dropped into conferences and meet ups for things I was passionate about — entrepreneurship, education, passion and work, personal development — meeting like-minded individuals and organizations while establishing a propitious network. In addition, I enrolled in activities that provided me the opportunity to always meet new people — salsa-ing with a university club and writing on Medium are among the top two. But it doesn’t stop here, I asked more questions, tinkering away at this psychological layer I had just discovered. Shedding inhibitions in other areas of my life got a little easier now.
De-shelling yourself is the first step towards a Masters in Self
My carapace is still in the works; I’m restoring other aspects where inhibitions reign high — inhibitions to writing, being organized and punctual, trying out new cuisines and dating. I haven’t learnt any out-of-this-world knowledge from de-shelling and asking questions, but I’ve truly began to learn a lot more about myself — my personality, strengths, weaknesses and interests. I believe this is one the most important and underestimated learning process one must go through to be genuinely happy, a study of the self — an area that our education system ignores almost completely.
I’ve only begun my journey, and I hope you will jump on board too. Ask questions. Challenge your status quo. Be forever inquisitive. Step out of your comfort zone and dip your feet in the murky waters. Dispute assumptions about yourself and don’t let anyone label you. You are what you want to be, and not what others would like you to be. I will soon join the fearless de-shelled clan at the end of this crusade, and I hope to see you there before me.
Crusade of Carapace: De-shell yourself is my first post to this series, and I’d love to share the next steps of this journey with you …
I aim to motivate, instigate and share my stories with as many as possible.
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Cheers — Sunaal