I was born in Pingtung, the south most and one of the poorest counties in Taiwan. When I was 5 years old, I have decided my lifetime career as an artist, so I went to the art class in my high school. I have been doing art and design since then.
However, throughout my life, I have been forced to face the same question again and again: How do you find a job in the future if you’re an artist? ”What if you are poor all the time in your life?” Or another assumption like“You are unlikely to succeed. That’s too hard, and you will never to get it because you are not a genius. We have to accept the reality.”
Those hypotheses appeared every single day when I was little. It can be applied to any professions like musicians, actors, film makers, dancers…etc. I did feel hurt at first when I heard those questions. I felt excluded. It seemed like I had to pick the other promising careers just like other kids did. But then, I discover an interesting truth: those adults who have those questions were not on the top of their professions. They were very conservative, and they don’t believe anything new. Their ideal profession is usually a stable job with nice salary nearby home.
Unbelieving is a common trait across all of them. And the reason preventing them from believing is fear.
I have witnessed so many parents, teachers and seniors who were afraid that they can’t have enough income and they are not good enough to stand out. They kept questioning themselves. As a result, when they talk to the next generation, they revealed their personal experience, which is exactly their fear. It’s weird that they didn’t concentrate on how to enhance their ability. Instead, they focused on what they don’t believe, and increase the insecurities which makes them make no progress in their lives.
In fact, the conservative mindset I observed brings me a new perspective.
That is, the question or suspicion they were asking me are just their inner reflection.
They are trying to deny nothing but themselves. Their suggestion was not for me; their mindset was not for me; and the rules they shape the world is not the way I have to obey. Since then, I didn’t feel hurt anymore. I felt relieved. I am not a victim but a master of my life. I chose believing. I knew there is a way that hasn’t been discovered yet, so I’m going to find out for myself.
For those who is still struggling that you have no mental support from your family, friends, or the whole universe. Don’t seek for the encouragement from outside. Find it from inside. You have the right to choose what you believe. Be the one believing in yourself.
When I was in college, I made up my mind to study abroad without parent’s financial support. I wished to cover all the tuition and living expense because I knew my mom worked so hard to raise three children that is extremely difficult to pay a large amount of money for my grad school in USA. It seemed like an impossible challenge for a 20-year-old college student. But I always have faith. I applied almost all of the scholarships that I could apply in Taiwan and in the United States in order to finish my degree. What’s more, I paid off millions of student loan within a year right after graduating.
What is the difference between me and other International students? I didn’t come from a big city as they do, so my English was not as good as they are. I didn’t have a wealthy family as they do, so I had to get a part-time job while studying in order to have money for eating. Neither did I have the best education since I grew up in the countryside and learned how to use computer software after 20s which is pretty late compared to the average students. So what is the difference between me and other students?
Psychologist have studied that social acceptance is central to our lives for a long time which means we are all eager to be loved, supported and accepted by others. However, it might probably be wrong, or only half right.
The thing that fulfilled our soul is not social acceptance, but self acceptance.
That makes me different. You can see many examples surrounded us. Walt Disney, a pioneer of the American animation industry, got fired from his first job and had two times entrepreneurship failure before he founded Disney. J. K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, used to be a jobless, divorced woman, and a single mom. She kept writing a novel that she had no idea when it will be published at that time. Lady Gaga, one of weirdest and the most popular singers in the world, has experienced social rejection for a long time in her teenage. However, they were among those who kept dreaming and believing, and not afraid of being excluded from society because they lived with self acceptance.
You will get much more meaningful thinkings than painful feelings if you find yourself inside.
The only person who can stop you is yourself, and yet you are also the only one who moves yourself forward.
When the adults told me that I can’t make a living by art, I get into the one of the top global companies in New York, paid off the loan completely by myself and be able to support all the medical expenses for my father’s stroke in the hospital since 2014. Those conservative people also indicated that I’m not the best one in the world. I agree. Because I’m not going to be the most talented person in the world but I will be my best self. That’s why I have won numerous international design awards worldwide, published an autobiography with over 10,000 copies sold and became a faculty member at School of Visual Arts in New York City.
According to a linguistic hypothesis, the words they speak reflect their own worldview and cognition. That’s why I said the questions they had are their inner reflection. It has nothing to do with yours. Don’t take it serious.
Paul Tillich once said: “The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable.”
Despite the whole world is against you, you have to be the only one loves and accepts yourself.
The one who believes in self thrives and shines; the other with fear, unbelieving, looking for external approval fades.
When kids without self acceptance grow up, they become self doubt and kept questioning themselves or the next generation just like the people who had questioned me.
Believing in yourself is the first step regardless of whether others believe in you.
The second step is self mentoring.
You have to utilize the inner power and realize the life you want. If you are a self acceptance person but don’t take any action. Nothing will happen. It’s not the situation you pursue.
People may doubt what you think, but they will believe what you do.
Being a self-mentoring person means making it happen by yourself. Don’t rely on a rich dad to start your business, a friend to land you a job or a stranger to help you when you are in need. Don’t stay at home waiting headhunters to discover your talent. Be your own mentor.
Take myself for example. I had a long term depression for 6 years since I was 20 because I felt that I’m weird, different and excluded from others. After trying tons of therapies including sleeping pills, anti depression and anti anxiety medicine, I almost tend to end my life. At that time, I begun to find another way to keep me from depression: exercise.
I admit that I am a weak, skinny girl who used to hate running very much so I could only run 800 meters at the very beginning. However, I wanted to change and I believed I can change. The question is how can I do it? It’s pretty simple, just keep running.
Believing and doing are both critical to our lives. Just do it no matter how small you think you are, and no matter what other people think of you. Keep trying, doing, realizing and even failing. You will get stronger and stronger when you stand up after falling.
I kept running from 1 kilometer, 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers and even reach the half marathon for 21 kilometers. I trained myself independently without personal trainer, searched resource online and practice alone in the Central Park for years. Eventually, I finished a 42 K marathon in Chicago in 2015. Since then, my depression has been getting better and better and I’m fully recovered now.
That’s how you make the imagination into realization.
There is another story about self mentoring that completely changed me while I run in the Central Park and in the marathon route. That is, I found few people ran with prosthetic legs beside me. I was shocked when I saw them personally for the first time. When the doctor said that they were unlikely to walk again, when the people looked at themselves in a different way, when it’s supposed to be helpless in their future, what transforms themselves and makes who they are today? I was also wondering why a lot of people with healthy body can’t finish one kilometer but the people with prosthetic legs who is unlikely to run can complete any marathon if they want?
It’s the self acceptance with self mentoring.
Abraham Lincoln once said that “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
The environment can not shape who you are, you are the creator of your own. Also, Napoleon Hill had said: ” You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
Be the one and the only raise yourself. So, do not be limited by your inherited defect, your background, unexpected accident or others opinions. Losing legs doesn’t mean you can not be a great athlete. Lacking financial support doesn’t mean I can’t go abroad to study or I can’t have my own business. Even if you are a weak girl with deep depression like me, you can reach the finish line and get the medal completely on your own.
Stop running away from yourself. Be the self mentor and make your best self.
No matter how far your goal is, you will get here.