3 Reasons Why the Right Direction Feels Wrong in the Starting
And the one strong reason a few people are persistent in their hearts
I’ve had my experience of following the independent path. I am still on it. I have a job that my relatives envy, I have a lifestyle my friends appreciate, have parents who trust me in all my decisions, and have many social circles ( extroversion ) where people are mature enough to know about the changes I have gone through as a person.
It all started four years ago when I enrolled in an online course worth INR 40k to prepare for an internship after wasting half of my college life blowing money.
While all my other friends were pursuing the path where there was no upfront investment of money, everyone mocked my decision. Eight months later, I organised interviews for 25 students along with mine. I got the offer along with three others.
For eight months, I was on and off with whether I am going in the right direction or not. I was worried if my family would ever support me. I was worried if there is light on the other end of the journey. It took a lot of patience and stubbornness to reach the other side in one piece mentally.
Here are the three major obstacles I faced in following my heart, and they are quintessential in anyone’s journey, which is carving a different path of their own. You will have many reasons to doubt your decisions, but one trigger is enough to keep going.
When I bought the online course, I wasn’t guaranteed it would land me my sought internship. I was hoping there for an indirect relation. If I learnt enough technical skills and show my proficiency with projects' help, I’d be a better candidate in the pool.
I was uncertain how I would survive for the next eight months. Eight months is the specific timeline because I was in the pre-final year back then. The summer vacation was about to start in eight months. A summer internship was compulsory for us to do during the summer vacation.
Resistance in this context is any reason that tries to pull you back to your old ways. For example, starting a workout after months will sore your muscles. That soreness will stop you from exercising. But if you research why it happens, soreness is inevitable for a muscle that hasn’t been trained in a long time.
Resistance comes from society too. Your friends will think you are acting differently. Your family will think you are cutting them out. People will think you are hiding something when you start avoiding normal conversation because you are too invested in your work.
Whenever you try to do something that has never happened before, society tries to pull you back because of the “central limit” tendency. As long as you are an average guy, no one cares. When you outperform everyone, people try to bring you down to the original standards. When you are underperforming, they make fun of you. Being the average guy is the only way to stay away from attention.
3. Long Term vs Short Term
This is one of the lessons which no one taught me in childhood. Short term benefits are the immediate effects of your action. It might not turn out the same way in the long term because everything is not linear in this world.
We all have our ups and downs, and if we start judging the entire process based on one negative experience, our journey is far from over. Judging even on one positive experience is flawed. We need to be open-minded and think about the long term effects of the serious aspects of life.
For example, a career is a serious path. Job security is a short term perk. But when you visualise in the long term, job satisfaction is the one that will fuel your motivation. I, as a child, was only taught about security. Satisfaction was a lost chapter.
When you go deeper into these reasons, you will find many other ways why it is challenging for some people to become their own boss. I haven’t discussed the scariest one yet. It’s because I view it differently, and it has become a positive catalyst instead of a bane.
If you associate fear with unfamiliarity, you will look at it from a new perspective. From an evolutionary point of view, when the fear is unknown, our curiosity is a weapon that is sure to work.
My father sent me loads of money every semester on top of the semester fees in my college days. My friends had around 30k INR for 6 months. Me, on the other hand, always had more than 1 lakh. When I started my first job, and the salary flushed in one day, I thought this financial crisis would be my doom.
I saw this fear as an opportunity and used it to become frugal. I backtracked this situation to understand how I got here in the first place. I found out the cause of my hedonist lifestyle. When I went home for the first time since I got the job, I returned my father’s debit cards. I never told him the reason, but he was wise enough to understand. That unlimited ( sort of ) source of money was my cause. I gave up the debit card because I needed the fear.
The next three months, I ended up with two digits in my bank account, but with every month, I learned more about why I was financially dumb. I am not good at personal finance right now. But since I started managing money on my own, the situation is better. I don’t have to pine for a paycheck every month. The long term goal is to have enough money to survive for six months ( if there was no money inflow for six months ).
When creating your own path, you will face different kinds of resistance based on what kind of journey you’re on, whether it’s a career, relationship or finance.
We are held back by too many negative thoughts because negativity strikes harder. It is a defence mechanism, and you should acknowledge it. It keeps you safe and stops you from leaving your comfort. But when you learn to appreciate the positive side, the confidence builds up, and the reasons stopping us in the starting feel like an inclination that every novice has to go through as a part of the journey.
I am a mentor at Udacity, who writes about mental health, productivity, lifestyle, and mindfulness in his off-work time. When I am not clearing students’ doubts or grading projects, I am burning fuel either in a workout or playing badminton.