Just Do It

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ever feel like you don't have passions for things that your friends and family seem to have. Like you don't have that one creative outlet or hobby that everyone keeps rambling on about? I could try to inspire you by verbosely and eloquently presenting my mantra on how to achieve great things but I think we sometimes learn best through stories.

I reminisce upon a time when I was 19. I was at some kind of youth convention, and such as the nature of such events, they berated us with questions like, "What are your interests? What are you most passionate about?" As the AA-esque circle of Q&A made its way around to me, my mind was literally darting from every corner of my experiences to try to find any substance that would result in the semblance of a semi decent answer.

I had quit soccer, drawing, Chinese school and piano at a young age. My life comprised of going to a school where I didn't have many friends, returning home to the quotidian routine of both equally mindless homework and an obsession with video games. Such a realisation began to build a tension within me...

Ever heard of the saying, if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough? Well, my dreams were big, but the fear was bigger. I always wanted to do so much but I was honestly scared to pursue any of my interests, and there were many things holding me back:
1. Complacency - falling into the everyday routine
2. Insecurity - thinking I would fail and was never good enough
3. Investing time into useless things - spending too much time doing things that wasn't helpful
4. A habit of procrastination - perpetually postponing pursuit of my passions
5. No focus or organisation - poor time management and chaos in my mind

Cue...quarter life crisis. I was 19 and literally felt like I had done nothing with my life except sit in front of a computer screen.

I don't know the exact date or time, but one day I returned from a concert where I thought I was pretty "cool", came home and looked in them mirror and thought, I am the exact opposite. I remember from this day on that I needed to change.

During this period of reformation, the one quote that literally changed my entire life:

You have the ability to self-proclaim your own fame. You have the ability to experience and feel a certain amount of self worth that comes from a very vain place, by your choices - your opinions about fashion, about music, about politics, the way you walk down the street, the way that you carry yourself at parties - you can literally choose to have fame...I literally trick people everyday into believing I'm somebody, and I'm not...I am a lie and everyday I kill to make it true. 

The idea is not one of facade or deception. It is one where you project the confidence you wish to have and attempt to fulfil this expectation. As it starts with a lie - that your opinions matter and that people admire or even desire the way you carry yourself, you incline toward a place where this becomes so everyday that it is now real.

I reflected on two things:
1. Things I was good at
2. Things that I had a passion in

With this mantra behind me, the next thing to do was to immediately take up opportunities to pursue my interests where the latter was salient, and the former was highly considered.

In the coming months, I chose to do things that I knew would force me out of my comfort zone. I found a retail job selling suits despite the fact that I hated uttering any words of my mouth to people I didn't know. I did not think twice about investing in a guitar at the closest music store, and self teaching myself whilst enrolling in music electives at university. I had the dream of going to LA, but I had always perpetually frugal. After returning from LA with my best friend, I still consider it the best time of my life.

LA sparked my interest in fashion, and I pursued a job at ASOS, where I was initially rejected. During this period, I told myself that I wanted to carve out my own means of presenting my fashion, so I founded Everyday Sway through weeks of brain storming, coding and photoshop. I had no idea about fashion, layering, photography, html. I felt like I looked like an idiot in front of the camera. How I get through these moment is remembering that every aficionado in any field, started off as an amateur. I picture Jimmy Hendrix failing to play the F chord as a beginner despite his ability now. It is a perpetual journey of discovery.

In the same year, I had always had fantastical vision of visiting New York in my mid-20s, but in the middle of second semester (given that I had completed all my assessment tasks early), I booked a trip to New York with two weeks notice. No regrets. ASOS eventually offered me the job and I have started working with Topman.

Even though I feel like this last year has been a success, I know I am not there yet, and maybe I never will be, but isn't that the best way to think about it. For we are ever learning, and if it is not this way, it is the beginning of a slow inner death.

If someone were to ask my about my passions now, I could write them a (self-indulgent) thesis about it. It's only been just over a year since I made the decision to really take in things that scare me and take the IMMEDIATE steps toward goals. Nike got it right.

Just Do It 

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