As you grow older, you will find birthdays to be less of a big deal and you stop having crazy wild expectations of how it will turn out to be. So I turned 23 the end of last month, and there was no big parties or gatherings (not saying that I used to go all out in previous years), but my mum made me an apple pie and I celebrated with my parents by eating pie and having good seafood dinner with some of their friends. And it was actually really nice, and the people that mattered to me spent time and effort to let me know how much they care about me, and that was all I needed. You guys definitely made me feel very special.
Besides my birthday being a day to celebrate my existence (this sounds really self-absorbed), I wanted to just pen a post about some lessons I have learned, or to be more accurate, the lessons I am working on at this moment.
1. Nothing beats hard work and the right attitude.
I am going to admit. I love my “me time”. I am all about the work-life balance. But I realized recently, that when you want to grow, as in really grow and learn, be it in your career or something you want to learn and achieve, you have to put in the extra hustle.
This does not only refer to long hours spent at the office (time spent is not correlated to productivity) but also the right attitude of wanting to learn and know more about your work, going all out on your enthusiasm to truly produce the work of your best potential.
I am far from being able to commit and grind it 24/7, but I am working towards that version of myself, the #girlboss within me, and trying to not whine or complain even when work gets frustrating.
Someone very wise told me this concept, in which “you gotta do what you gotta do”; and as simple as it sounds, I find this to be a great concept when it comes to dealing with the not so enjoyable parts of work (or anything else in life, really).
2. Stop being judgmental to others and yourself.
Its almost humanly impossible to not judge. Our minds are made up in a way for us to have a pre-judgement schema about others in order to make sense of our surrounding. However, in these recent years, I learned that nothing is ever just in black and white, and there are always many underlying factors that cause a certain outcome.
I am nowhere near perfect, and it’s still automatic for me to have a certain predisposed label of someone, but I consciously fight it now. I realized that when you have a certain judgment of someone, all it does is it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy (meaning that your beliefs and behavior causes the prediction of someone to become true) and all it does is it creates negative relationships.
Also, when you learn to stop judging others, you are also less hard on yourself. I used to stop myself from doing certain things, or even feeling a certain way, because I sentence it to be “wrong”, or because I have previously judged someone who did the same. So as you stop focusing on nitpicking on others, and focus on building yourself, it helps you to be more unapologetic of being your true self (I rant on a whole post about being unapologetic HERE).
3. Be genuine.
In the crazy world of internet and social media (and this is coming from someone who works in social media advertising), it is very easy for us to get caught up with the ideal version of how a life or person should be. As much as fancy Instagram feed can be very fun and exciting, but when we are living our real lives, it is very important to stay true to ourselves.
If you have a stand you feel strongly about, do not feel a need to conform to the people around you just because you want to fit in. If you do not agree on certain things with people of higher authority, you can always speak out. I am not saying to go yell or be rude to your bosses per se, but if something is really against what you believe, you can always let them know your thoughts in a courteous manner.
Also, you do not have to be like anyone else just to succeed, you can build your very own identity and do things the way you want to, as long as it gets things done as well, or best, even better than before.
Even with friends, do not feel a need to act in a way just because it seems expected of you. Of course, if you have something you need to improve, accept the constructive feedback and work on yourself. This will make you a better person. But do not go out of your way just to be like everyone else. Be genuine to yourself and the people around you. Sincerity goes a long way.
4. Be fearless.
Ever since I can remember, I have been an awkward penguin. I am not kidding when I say that I have slight social anxiety, you can ask anyone who has seen me prep myself before going to a social event or if I have to meet someone for the first time.
But I do not want this to be an excuse for me to shy away from opportunities. I am learning to take the leap and just run into the unknown if I believe it is worth a shot.
It’s always easy to stay in your comfort zones, doing the things that you are used to doing. But there are times when you NEED to survive the anxiety and discomfort and dive right into the deep end, and that’s when you learn how to swim. And most of the time, you will find the experience to be exhilarating and you would look back and laugh at yourself for making a big deal out of it.
And so what if it is a wrong move? So what if people laugh at you? So what if you seemed like a fool? After a day or two, it will be forgotten and it becomes a good story to tell.
There are so much more for me to learn, but these are a few that are on top of my head. I am very excited to continue this journey in learning and growing, towards being a better version of myself, and to be a better person for the people around me.for those who choose to stick
Also, to those who choose to stick with me, as I stumble and fall, and find my way slowly, I am more than grateful for you.
Wherever you are in life right now, it helps to take some time to reflect on yourself, set some reminders and goals to work towards a better version of yourself. Just like all apps on our phones, when we put in effort and time to do minor bug fixes, it goes a long way. All the best!