“I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone around you.”
Ever think about how your decisions and choices are too often influenced by outside factors – the expectations from your family and friends, what you want people to think you are like, and what everyone else is doing. Though we’re usually in denial about this, subconsciously, there’s truth to it. You can quickly tell you’re headed in this direction if your inner workings, deepest desires are lacking fulfillment, you’re feeling discouraged and/or unmotivated to chase what you’ve been you’ve been chasing, or you’re just patently in despair. So what now? Sounds like you need to do some soul searching and focus on what matters to you most: Yourself. Here’s how to do it:
#1 Shed the Expectations.
The very first step to focusing on yourself is to stop worrying about everyone else around you. You need to accept that you will disappoint someone and people may look at you and think, “Geez, I never expected that to happen”. It is solely your decision to filter our these demeaning perceptions – you need to realize that your security comes from yourself and not the affirmations of those surrounding you.
#2 Separate Culture Clashes.
For a lot of us, it becomes difficult to focus on ourselves when there’s a clash of cultures and family values. Coming from a super regimented Southeast Asian culture that is highly influenced and grounded in family, it was extremely difficult to assimilate in Western culture (even though I was born in the states). Seriously, I could be whatever I want to be when I grow up? I should pick a path that makes me happy? How is that even possible when everything I did had to be done with my family and community in mind? The emphasis on family, its reputation, and image was the focal point of my decisions. It was so emotionally difficult to stray from a scholarly path. And then there was always the existence of comparison – constantly being compared to my contemporaries.
These influences will always be present, but it is solely up to you to allow that light bulb to come on and understand that 10 years from now, your parents, your community, your culture won’t bear the fruits of your success and happiness.
Yes, you must never forget your roots, something that never really modernizes even as times change, yet something that defines who you are. Adjusting is key here and knowing when to separate culture from your life and future will really allow you to sink into yourself.
#3 Be Honest With Yourself.
What you believe, you become so really take some time to think about what draws you in. What are you really passionate about pursuing? What makes your heart beat? Life is always in flux, but are you unwavering – are you who you truly want to be? Think about these things and who you envision yourself as, then build around that. Also, ingrain in yourself what you believe to be true, shift your perspective, and don’t be afraid to allow yourself to come through.
#4 Be in Control of Your Potential.
Take action. I was always told the sky is the limit, but really there is no limit except yourself. Believe that everything is possible for you have some control in that possibility and then go out there and maximize your potential.