May I take you on journey through my mind? I want to share a particular day in my life when defeat truly clouded my judgement and robbed me of my optimistic nature. I had biweekly exams for the three courses I was taking last semester and to the say the least, I was BARELY making it. At this point in the semester, I had switched up my studying style, swallowed my pride of “making it on my own,” and began my weekly regimen of tutoring. With this new plan in play, acing exams wouldn’t be such a hassle now. Little did I know…
Days after taking this integrated exam I received the grades back. Disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe my emotions at the time but since it was a Thursday night and I had no engagements the following day, I decided it would be an excellent idea to dilute my feelings of inadequacy in a glass (actually several glasses) of gin and tonic. By my third or fourth one, I went to my room and sat at my desk. As I stared blankly at the wall, my notebook was in arm’s reach. So I figured why not take my own advice and express myself in creative form like I had preached to many of my friends earlier that year?
I grasped the pen, and I could not stop. The rush of dopamine, serotonin and the excitement of engaging in something exhilarating was divine. Pouring my heart and brain onto paper was truly sensory overload. No drug could compare. Days after my trip, rereading my chicken scratch, the phrase, “A drunken mind speaks sober thoughts,” came to mind. I was impressed with what I came up with while in a boozed up state of mind.
Below is what I cooked up:
That feeling of wanting to drop everything during that last stretch, that gasp you get midway through your workout or run, this strange sentiment of hopelessness that crashes upon your body and makes you feel like this turmoil is infinite. It is this very sentiment that parts the elite from the regular, leader from follower; and the average from the excellent. There are so few experiences in life that prepare you for how to handle such. For instance, sports during adolescence teaches young minds how to embrace adversity. Impactful or unexpected moments such as sudden death can bring about this behavior of coping.
What is this push though?
Simply put: the action of moving while all else is telling you to stop. It’s not a move of irrationality, but rather a move of resilience. The age-old lessson of life throwing curve balls at you or making lemonade out of lemons is timeless, but in today’s world with almost farfetched and extreme circumstances, “bouncing” back from situations requires much more than just a simple decision of moving forward. Maybe we as people have become more sensitive and adversity seems to be foreign to us, but nonetheless mental support is key to pushing through.
As humans, we look for success.
To conquer a feat is an innate goal. Some goals are easier than others, but regardless it’s a challenge. What happens though when things don’t go as planned? Or when you feel that you bit off more than you can chew? To me, that feeling of your heart slightly fainting is bliss. Strange? Yes. But here’s why: you finally found the REAL opportunity to prove yourself. I agree that an instance as such isn’t seen as a chance to capitalize on, but (let this marinate), “Leaders don’t see problems, they see possibilities. Leaders dont see obstacles, they see opportunities.” This is the push. This is the defining moment where you tell your psyche, “Damn this is tough, but I ain’t givin’ up”.
Living in that moment, is rare. Imagine yourself, pushing through, giving your all to reach that finish line, completing that last rep, finishing that final task before taking a breather or throwing in the towel for the day. This is what the elite, and excellent leaders do. GIVE THEIR ALL. It takes time to put this mindset into motion. Years of practice, almost. The beautiful thing about that is, once the first step is made, it is only you who can stop yourself. What is even more amazing is that the pushing mindframe doesn’t only apply to personal endeavors or occupation-related tasks, intimate relationships benefit from this mindset too. Though it is a whole different beast, relationships and the pushing mindframe work to resolve issues of miscommunication. Whenever I think of the two, an LL Cool J song comes to mind (don’t judge me haha), “Luv you better.” Loving someone aint easy, but when you give your all, no matter what the outcome, you’ll never be dissatisfied.
In all, my message to you is: Go the extra mile. Be great, don’t settle. Strive to be better than you were the day before. Test your limits. Reach new boundaries. Think outside the box. And lastly, “If you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”.
After a few hours of writing, the next morning I felt relief. Better yet, freedom. Freedom from feelings of inadequacy, defeat and most of all, failure that I wouldn’t make it. Channeling my frustrations and melancholy on paper helped me recapture that very optimism I’d lost after seeing my grades. I challenge you to try and find an artistic way to express yourself. Whether you are dreary or delighted, find a way to express how you feel. Dance, sing, write, talk, yell, paint etc., just act out how you feel. It is key to your well-being, physically and mentally.