When it comes to school, I have always been among the top students. However, when it comes to public speaking or engaging a conversation with strangers, I am not that enthusiastic. I love talking but only with the people I am familiar with. And this has never been an issue until I came to the United States of America where networking is one of the success’s keys. I can’t write about the importance of taking risk and trying something new while I am myself confined in my comfort zone. I created this blog to see new horizons and share it with others. Therefore today I would like to share what I am using now to overcome some of the barriers we create for ourselves.
My accent had always been a limitation for me because I thought “what if people laugh at me?” What if they don’t understand what I am saying and they end up ignoring me? This is exactly what happens when we are facing new challenges. We care so much about the way others are going to react that we start creating our own barriers. We do not allow ourselves to get out of our comfort zone because we fear what’s on the other side of the wall. When I took the personal decision of not letting my accent be an obstacle to my blossoming, I started to open myself to new experiences. Here are two important things that I think about when I see reluctance coming on my way.
1- You only live once
This one has to be taken with precautions. The fact that we have only one life should not allow us to do crazy things that we may end up regretting. I am only saying that when you really want to do something, then why stopping yourself from acting? It’s not like you will have a chance to do it again in another life. Your life is in your hands and you have to use it efficiently to get the best of it. Stop thinking about the possibility of failing and maximize your positive thoughts. Muhammad Ali once said that “The only limitations one has are the ones they place on themselves.” So why don’t we free ourselves from these limitations and enjoy (reasonably) our one and only life?
2- What is the worst thing that can happen if you try?
I really appreciated my class of philosophy 1010 at the International University of Grand Bassam. The professor was not lecturing us about boring theories of life. He was rather engaging us in conversations that could captivate our attention. Dr King said for example that in order to get over a heartbreak we should ask ourselves what is the worst thing that can happen to us if the boyfriend or the girlfriend does not come back. Are we going to die for that? By trying to answer this question, we should normally understand that we can overcome the pain. This, is the reasoning I use to try new things. - And for me new things include the smallest stuff like greeting a stranger in the elevator… –
I also remember one of my friend I appreciate because she will rarely tell me what I want to hear but what I need to. One day before a class presentation, I told her on Facebook how stressed I was about doing it. She asked me “Are they going to eat you?” Of course the answer was no so she asked me “so what?” It was so simple to demolish all these bad thoughts I had because I instantly realized that I did not have to be scared of my classmates’ reactions. The stress, the fear is normal as long as it does not paralyze us and therefore prevent us from doing what we need to do. I am using this example to actually show you that no matter what we want to achieve we will never know the ending unless we try. What is the worst thing that can happen then? Every experience is valuable because we may reach our objective or get a lesson to improve our skills.
On the contrary of what I thought, no one ever mocked me because of my accent. They just ask me to repeat when they don’t understand what I am saying and that’s just what I do. If you end up not doing something because you worried about failure then you have already failed by resignation. “The world is full of people who are really smart but they hold themselves back.” You only live once so get out of your own way and allow yourself to live your dreams. Please enjoy this illustration of optimism by Jason Njoku the founder of IrokoTv.