Hello, Im from Singapore and while looking for self improvement tips, I came acroos this forum and began reading through some of the topics which I found useful but I am unable to apply them onto myself as Im not a practical person so to speak. Let me just give a quick background of myself and go on to my inner conflicts and let's hear from some of your kind advice. :)
Where I came from is a small and highly competitive country. From young, I have excelled in my studies up till pre- college. I have always been proud of my academic successes and knew that when Ive graduated, I could land a good job and change my way of life- more extravagant and flamboyant. Along the way, I became proud and highly competitive and of course, where I was, there were people who outperformed me and as I became mediocre among elites, things started to go downhill and I was depressed for a long time. That affected my studies and as a result my A levels were bad- so bad I couldnt qualify for a local college. Having said that, what has always been the foundation of my beliefs- being an elite means never to fail academically seem to be crushed by the living example in myself. Used to think that the best could only come from renowned schools but looking at myself, I cant even say Im an elite anymore. My beliefs were wrecked and I holed up in my room for a long time. Now that I have mustered some courage to seek redemption and recovery, Im not sure where to start as I do not even know what I stand for anymore.. First step is to gain admission into a local college which is a topmost priority for me but before I can accomplish this, my inner beliefs need to be worked on and I'd like to hear from you guys pls..
Well, you've come to the right place.
I suggest you start by reading John Maxwell's book "Failing Forward." You'll learn that everyone fails and you'll learn how to deal with it and what to take from it. There is always someone better than you, and that's ok. I have a friend who's doing an Ironman Triathlon today. He's not expecting to win I"m sure. Does that mean he shouldn't do it? Of course not. He's still far better than everyone else who wouldn't dare even try. You will always be better off trying to be with the elites and failing than not trying at all.
To add on, I was not such a nice person when things were going well for me as mentioned earlier, I was proud and complacent and despised people I deemed to be less smart/ competent.. It is more depressing that such an action made me contradict myself now- people whom I used to despise seem to be on the same level as I am now, esp since Ive yet to make it to college.. At least they have not tried to be an elite and hence probably did not experience such a 'fall from grace'. Thing is, it burdens me to realise that while I was proud and despising people, now I seem to fall into this category as well.. It just makes things all the worse. I cant find a good reason to carry on this path of recovery as my values seem warped yet they were my foundation, meaning to say I grew up in a competitive environment and had extreme views on how success should be. Having to change them because of a setback seems superficial and forced. I wont be me if I start eating humble pie yet is being all humble and sorry a good start to resolve this mess? :(
Having a setback is usually how people make progress. It's what makes them realize their plan wasn't working. It doesn't matter how you realize your values are flawed as long as you make a change. It would be much worse, and I should say prideful, to realize that you should make a change but be too stubborn to make it.
You learn from your mistakes. You made two mistakes early in your life. The first was you looked down on others who were not as 'competent' as you were. The second is you didn't pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going. You despised those you thought lazy but it turned out that you were to be included in that group. Now, I'll stop preaching your mistakes.
First, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get your ass going.
Second, turn to those who you used to despise and learn from them how the hell they keep going through adversity.
Can we still be showy and proud (not in the context of contempt nor despising) after failing or facing setbacks which slowed us down for years? Each time people rake up our failures when comparing or in arguments, how can we be sure and erase these self doubts that we arent as good, just like what people make us out to be? Does resilience play a part in this and how can we develop it to ensure we dont ever fall back to depression/ misery?
First of all be proud of your accomplishments not your innate abilities. One you can change or do the other was an accident of genetics (or act of God, whichever you believe). Second, you shouldn't be "showy" or a braggart. It's unmanly and unseemly.
You have accomplishments that you can be proud of, things that you worked hard at and achieved; you just took your eye off the ball for a little while. Now it's time to get back into the game. The only time it's too late is when you're six feet under.
If people are brining up your failures then those aren't the people you need to be hanging around with anyway. What's actually going on with them is they are insecure in themselves and need to bring someone else down to make themselves feel better about themselves. Don't enable this, walk away.
This may help (5 core values)
1. If it bothers you don't bitch or complain about it, change it; if you can't change it deal with it.
2. Be fair. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
3. Be honest with yourself and with others.
4. Give of yourself; it's not all about you.
5. Have faith in yourself; you're not as bad as some would have you believe.
Faith in yourself and your abilities takes time and practice (yes practice). Everytime someone denigrates you or puts you down think of a few of your best accomplishments in mind to counter-act their words and keep thinking of those accomplishments. You don't need to say them aloud, just let the idiot keep rambling on and walk away.
Just got the book Failing Forward, eager to get started on reading it after looking 5 bookstores for it before finding an available copy. :)
Thanks for ur insight Andre. :)
About what u mentioned on 'Decide what makes you feel good and if you can achieve this level, remember sometimes compromise has to be made and failure has to be accepted.', by compromise, are u referring things that I have to forgo in order to do well for my college entry exams such as leisure time, hobbies, negative thinking and more? To accept failure means that I would have to recognise the fact that I cant act high and mighty but be more down to earth and learn from it instead of feeling self pity, being depressed and all?
@ David- I've always told myself that even famous and accomplished people have had setbacks in life but I shun away from doing so as I do not want myself to use it as an excuse to make myself feel better. I wanna find a way to justify my failure and to have a reason to become a more contented and successful person than I once were, hence Im always open to advice.. :)
Winter, I meant it, not as only as a way to feel better, but also a method to bring everything into perspective. The best way for me to deal with failure is to learn from them. If I made a mistake, or had a problem with something. I'll analyze the situation and double my efforts to not fall into the same trap.
Even the best and brightest people in history failed at one time or another. Failure happens to everyone, it what you do afterwards which makes the difference and it seems that you have learned something about yourself and can come out better because of it. Even though you're coming from a highly competitive group of people, you can't compare your work and intelligence against theirs; that leads no where. There are always going go to be people who are smarter or quicker to learn something. It's important to make sure that YOU are doing well, not anyone else.
Knowing ones self is the most important thing anyone can do. It's time to reflect on yourself and your priorities.
Thanks for sharing, Rob.. Im beginning to derive my conclusion to ending my misery, having more courage to face my fears and also develop more resilience to setbacks thanks to everyone who took their time to share with me advice and from various books and sources.. Late at night, when I realise something is brewing in my mind, an idea that can alleviate my stress and help solve my inner conflicts, I stop by a park and sit there alone to think and reflect on how to respond to people and to setbacks.. All of these were a great help to my self recovery. For now, Ill keep looking and thanks everyone for being generous enough to share which allowed me to open my mind and eyes to better cope with my stress, anxiety and disappointment in my setback.. When I finally have an answer, I'd post here to share with everyone..