Experiments in Developing a

Super-Achiever Mentality

"Fear, Perfectionism, Procrastination - Please Get Lost"

I HATE HATE HATE having to admit this, but ever since I began my A-levels I've said both to myself and others that as SOON as I finish my exams, I'll immediately start testing all the business ideas that have been bubbling in my mind all (ahem) year long.

In July, when my final exam was over, crunch time arrived.

And what did I do? (see cat meme below)

This couch-loving laziness was disguised as:

1. "Oh I'm too busy to get started, I'm going on holiday"

2. "I'm relaxing after 15 years of education LEAVE ME ALONE"

3. and "I'm busy doing an intensive spring clean of my room".

Inside I hated it and just felt guilty about having to put this goal off day after day, which became month after month (welcome also to the reason why I haven't blogged for like 6 MONTHS).

I'm finally at a point where I'm emotionally drained of feeling like this and CAN. NOT. TAKE. IT. ANY. MORE. MUST. DO. SOMETHING. PRODUCTIVE. AND. EXCITING. WITH. LIFE. NOW.

That's when I came across an interview with the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, where she discussed what she did to make sure that fear didn't stop her from writing novels.

This opened my eyes to something which I'd known all along, deep down.

I'm holding back on testing my business ideas because I'm afraid.

I loved her talk on how to stop falling into this trap and made some notes from the video that you'll hopefully find useful too:

Why I’m Glad I Was Rejected from Oxford University

I refused to admit it at the time, but when I saw the words "your application is no longer under consideration" and "we shall not be able to offer you a place", I really was upset. 

My eyes may have leaked (OK I CRIED A LITTLE).

This reaction took me by surprise because I had just spent the last 3 months passionately telling everyone that I really couldn't care less about getting in any more as I had decided by that point that I didn't want to go to uni (why? the short story is that I struggled to identify a compelling enough reason to go. 'My parents, teachers and friends want me to' just didn't cut it). 

The rejection hurt because I associated it with being 'too dumb to get in'; a reflection of my intelligence. I'd made the irrational mistake of associating a criticism/rejection of an view/action I make (or in this case an application I made) with a personal attack against me, which of course it wasn't, but my subconscious wasn't having any of that thing called rationality. 

After getting my rejection email I spent the rest of the night in a sort of haze where I quite frankly felt incompetent and  embarrassed about having to tell all my peers, teachers and parents about the rejection.

The feeling went away after a good nights sleep however (seriously, why does this work?!), and I journalled some of my new views about the event the next morning. Namely that it was a very positive experience (team positivity, people!).

Why? 2 reasons in particular made the rejection an event that I'm glad happened:

1. It brought my ego down a peg or two. 

I'm still a bit uncomfortable about publicly revealing this (no one likes admitting that they can at times be annoyingly braggy and egotistical), but whether I liked it or not, or was conscious of it or not, being the only student in the 6th form applying to Oxford lead to some ego-boosting attention from peers and teachers. I'm thankful that the event reminded me to stay humble.

2. It challenged me to learn to not take 'failure' personally. 

Stuff happens. It doesn't make me inferior, stupid and dumb. It also made me look at the bigger picture - aka. that this event really wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of life, death and the universe. So I think i'll just get over it now ;)

No Fear Challenge

For 7 days I'll be doing 1 thing that scares me every day as part of the No Fear challenge. The aim is to build my courage and get used to (and therefore stop fearing) rejection, embarrassment and the irrational fear most of us have of being judged.

The first day was to wear pyjamas to accept an award lol, followed by asking for a free Starbucks coffee, singing in the streets and asking a stranger to buy me lunch: