Behind every closed door is some dark secret that we don't talk about because we're afraid of judgments and misconceptions. Social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram, make things worse by projecting a mirage of perfect lives and images that many are trying to live up to. The curated social world strokes the egos of narcissists with "Likes" while depriving most, particularly the young, from the truth that we're all really just perfectly imperfect.
Three years ago, I started experiencing depression. It was the first time that I realized mental health issues are not just some disease for selected groups, it could happen to anyone. Until this day, I'm still battling with it. However, having suffer through the darkest moments, I learned the importance of detaching from our thoughts. Our mind really has a way of amplifying the positives and the negatives depending on the state of our mental health. On a good day, I'm content with life and hopeful for what the future holds. When darkness hits, I spiral down and become overwhelmed with negativity. Sometimes, I'm so beaten that all hopes are lost, even the desire to keep living. To survive through those moments, I now try to watch my mind play out the movie with equanimity and imagine the positivity that I'd experience on a good day.
Instead of only talking about the good, I hope people will also start sharing more of the not so good. It is by talking about both can we help each other be comfortable with who we are and realize sometimes it's all part of life. Each of our circumstances might be different but our common struggles can help serve as strength to one another. It takes courage to expose our vulnerabilities and I think it's time that we stop decorating the closet doors and start lighting up the darkness inside.
Everyone’s on a journey to strive for a successful life. Angela Duckworth, famous for her research on Grit, has talked about grit as a key factor in determining success. Her definition of grit is passion and perseverance and in her research, she has found that the people who are gritty are those who are most passionate about the work they do. Simply put, your passion drives perseverance, which we commonly hear from leaders like Jeff Bezo and Steve Jobs talk about. Find something you’re passionate about so you can overcome the extreme difficulties involved in your journey to become a successful entrepreneur.
Having taken in Angela’s findings and advice, whether it’s from her TED Talk, book or Udemy class, I begin to reflect back on my own paths. Unlike the individuals she talks about, I have a lot of trouble with sustained passion. My fire always go off as soon as I meet the low level goals that I set for myself. This ongoing observation has turned me to believe that not everyone will have a clear, sustained passion for something. Perhaps, for people like me, the spark of passions are like stepping stones we should follow in order for us to live out who we are. Since I can’t control the emotions and fire I have for a particular topic, measuring grit base on how long I can hold on to one passion doesn’t feel right. In particular, if unsustained passion suppose to make you less gritty, then how do I explain the efforts I’ve put in to graduate with honors and excel in the jobs I’ve held over 10 years of my corporate career.
Instead of being caught up on passion and perseverance, I decided to rework the formula and focus on the intrinsic success as a goal.
Q: Why is it important for me to live out my authentic self?
A: I believe if we’re not authentic to who we are meant to be, we can’t truly be content with life.
Q: Why do I think being authentic will bring more contentment in life?
A: If you are living out your authentic feelings, thoughts and beliefs, you’re more likely to avoid doing things and making decisions that are in conflict of who you are.
Q: Why is doing things in conflict of our authentic self a problem?
A: When you’re making choices in conflict of your emotions and thoughts, you’re preventing yourself from unfolding your inner talent and passion.
Q: Why is it so important to find a passion?
A: It is because our passions fuel the internal contentment and drive to propel us forward to excel in an area that brings purpose and meaning.
Q: What is finding purpose and meaning important?
A: It helps to bring closure to our life’s existence and the importance of it.