OWN IT

I had always fallen victim to the so-called ‘blame game.’ There are times when I found that it was just so much easier to blame someone else for my lack of success when I know logically it really wasn’t anyone else’s fault that they got the opportunity to do something that I wanted to do. This sense of entitlement is something I fell victim to maybe in middle school and I realized when I started high school that things were different. I opened my eyes to the truth.

Gary Vaynerchuk is famous for his speeches and advice for success. One thing that he’s said recently struck a cord with me, he says,

“But when you take control of your at bat. When you put it all on yourself. When it’s your fault. And your wins. When you own it. That’s when it starts happening.”

I thought it was really important to share this because I totally believe its true. I may not have lived for a very long time-but even I know that if you want to be successful you have to take control of your life-not only by owning up to whatever you’ve done with your life so far, but also knowing that despite whatever talent you think you have-it won’t be enough. Yes, hard work and opportunity is important. But, I also feel like you can’t really get anywhere if you don’t know people. The mentality of masses as a whole and how society is going to react. We will always have exceptions to opinions, its understanding the majority that gives insight to general mentality. I think its important to know people. How they think, how they react. How will they react to whatever content you put out? How will you appeal to them if they were your fans? Stuff like that doesn’t seem important but it is.

For example, if I wanted to become a best-selling author one day, then I would not only need to write something that will appeal to a specific demographic but I would also need to gauge possible reactions to the release so that I can be prepared to respond.

If I wanted to be a car saleswoman than I would need to understand people on a more physical level-body reactions, I’d need to be persuasive. I would need to understand people on a fundamental level.

Any job that one might have-will involve dealing with all kinds of people, how is subjective but in principle the message is the same.

I’m only 17, but others… well let’s just say they’ve only got one life and they should be squeezing the hell out of whatever they’ve got left.

ROLEMODEL

So, I think I’ve mentioned spending my summer volunteering at a science camp for kids in my neighborhood of sorts. And, I am being extremely sincere when I say it was the one thing I looked forward to every single summer. I loved being able to watch kids explore the new things they learned, watch as their curiosity was encouraged by not only the staff but also by their peers, and I loved being able to be there for the kids. I think I started to love this place when I realized that I became a role model to these kids, I have kids who come up to me and say, “Celeste is my favorite volunteer,” or when they cheer when I end up helping in their class. I have had some of the same kids for the past five years and we have a mutual respect for each other and it kind of leaves me in awe.

Earlier on Wednesday, which was yesterday, I had a break in between my shifts there and so I went to my friend’s house and I knew I could only stay for a certain amount of time before I knew I would be late. My friend asked me to stay longer and I didn’t-and that’s when I realized how committed I was to this place. That I sacrifice a majority of my summer for kids who I probably will never see when they’re older. The level of dedication I put into coming here every year so I could be part of something so much bigger than myself.

I might not be able to come again next year because of other (probably life-affecting) commitments-but I am definitely making a promise to myself to visit every year at least once-to visit the kids I know I will miss.

TECHNO

Sooo… it was Friday and my phone decided to glitch, proceed to message people randomly without my say so, and then die.

It was at that point that I realized how much I relied on my phone for daily things: reminders to write blog posts, alarms, messaging people, reading emails, etc. I know that phones are extremely important in today’s culture-but I never fully realized how easy it makes our daily lives.

It’s really something we all take for granted I feel. We have so many opportunities as a result of phones-and the internet on a wider scale- that its become somewhat of a norm, and we don’t appreciate it as much as we should.

Just something to think about I suppose.

LISTEN

It’s hard to accept sometimes that pretty much most people will have different opinions from me. I am hard-headed and stubborn pretty much all the time and so it makes it difficult for me to keep an open mind when I already have fully formed opinions on a topic. I do try to educate myself as much as possible before taking a stance or making an opinion because I don’t ever want to be accused of being ignorant. That said, I wouldn’t consider myself intolerant-more as making an effort to understand others’ point of view even if I don’t agree.

This has always been something I considered to be extremely important-its important to be informed and tolerant. Not only by listening to others’ opinions but also making an effort to understand where they come from-because circumstances change and no two situations are exactly the same. While my efforts may not always be fruitful, I will always take something from the situation no matter the outcome.

SO, for example, whenever my family and I sit down for dinner, or get in the car, or be in generally a small space together-we start discussions and we always talk about something that a lot of people can input opinions into and it gets all tense. One topic that got particularly heated, was our discussion over double standards for girls and boys being raised and how they’re treated in a household. I have three sisters and no brothers, so I don’t know how my parents would treat a son specifically, but it was strange because we all came to a consensus that yes double standards exist. But, my dad claims that these double standards are necessary-for example, parents are more protective of the girls, and my dad claims that it’s because they need more protecting than the boys do. OF course, me and my sisters disagreed but anyways I could see where he was coming from and understand that as a father its his job to care for his kids-but at the same time it doesn’t mean that I have to accept his reasoning as being right (in a black and white sort of sense).

But the most important part of any discussion or exchange of opinions, is listening. You want to make a rebuttal? That’s fine, as long as you listen to what they’re trying to say and interpret correctly. You don’t want to argue or talk about it anymore? Let them finish what they’re saying first-knowledge is power after all.

Oh another thing to mention is this: you don’t always have to argue back-yeah I know it sounds crazy but it’s something to consider. You’ll find that not everything is worth arguing about. You want your voice to be heard? Don’t worry, there will be an opportunity for you in the future. There are a lot of outspoken people out there-myself included- and sometimes what they say will offend you and that’s okay as long as you know that it’s all just opinion. We all have different opinions on certain topics but in the end these opinions shouldn’t be an obstacle in the way of obtaining a more tolerant society.

CONFIDENCE

I’ve always believed confidence in oneself was one of the most admirable and desirable traits one could have. But at the same time there is a borderline between confidence and arrogance which I feel should never be crossed-duh! But how do we know when we cross the line?

Here’s some examples that are not as obvious:

  • If you show up late to outings frequently-it shows that you feel like your time is more valuable than others. And, it is one of the most understated signs of arrogance because most people don’t think that deeply about something like being late.
  • If you go out of your way to prove that you’re right or to prove that you’re never wrong- it a lack of acceptance on your part that shows arrogance and if you end up being right about it and you can’t be gracious about it, then well, its arrogance.

But confidence is not just about being proud of how you look or being comfortable in your own skin. Its also about being able to respect yourself in a way no one else can. You respect yourself by not doubting your ability and skills. You respect yourself when you push yourself to do better in every aspect of your life. Because this kind of respect-the kind that stems from self-love- is all the more impactful.

They say that when you have less confidence, it prevents you from seizing opportunities and taking risks for yourself that could ultimately help you succeed. I’ve struggled with that for a long time. I was confident in who I was and I was comfortable in who I was as a person. But, I was never confident in my abilities and I never took risks. But, at the same time, I wouldn’t change the decisions I’ve made because I’m able to talk about it now whereas if I did have the confidence to do things I ordinarily wouldn’t do, I probably couldn’t relate to this on such a personal level.

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