I’m sure I’ve spoken about it in more than one post already, but why can people be so timid? I will admit I used to be a very soft-spoken, timid, and shy person, but I learned to not be that way after I saw how little being the understated one did for me; all of my peers in high school would be getting perfect 2400s in SATs, getting full rides to good schools, getting straight As in their honors and APs, or being varsity athletes, members of the play production team (basically like AP Theatre Arts), part of aristocracy or choir, or on board for clubs. And then there I was. Quiet, shy, awkward, not terribly good any most things. I took my honors and APs, but never got about a B in any of them. I got a 2000 SAT, but that was after taking the damn thing 4 times. I got into a good college, but alas, no financial aide or scholarships. I used to be varsity-level in Cross Country; I was never properly promoted to the varsity team, even though I kept up with them. I did Theatre Arts for three years, but I never was able to get into the play production team. Granted, it was because I never took a chance on myself and actually apply for the team. Bottom line, I was in my own way. Too shy, afraid, and hesitant to push myself more and to try harder for myself. Luckily, that all changed in college.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned the first suicide attempt at least 5 times on this blog. So I won’t bother talking much more about it. But that was the catalyst for me to realize how much more I need to accomplish in life before I drop dead. I knew at this point that I loved to bake and cook, so I built off of that. I kept practicing, training, learning, and eventually I found my way into the kitchens of James Beard Award-winning and Michelin starred chefs. As for my grades, I was studying Food and Beverage, something I was passionate about, and Accounting, something I was naturally good at being a numbers person. So getting on Dean’s List was easier, because I was in my natural habitat with both; I am refraining from saying comfort zone because while I was comfortable with both topics, I still pushed myself and always took chances, such as participating as much as possible or taking one more step in being inventive or productive with my work. I never did a varsity sport in college, but I could care less. I still ran anyways, and managed to average 8 miles a day. And on top of that, I was basically an entire board in one person, being a president, advisor, vice president, secretary, and treasurer, as well as a culinary instructor, all at the same time. How is that for being driven?
You don’t need to attempt suicide to realize your potential. You just need to keep pushing yourself and not get into your own head so much. A big reason why I tried to jump into the freezing ocean when I already had so much going for me was because I felt stressed, scared, and incompetent. That uncertainty of not knowing if accounting or finance was really something I was passionate about, or if my future was going to be me cornered into who only knows what sector of hospitality, I just felt trapped and completely helpless. But if I just kept working and not let my mind wander off to such a dark place, then I would have been fine. Granted, being driven does come in waves. You just need to make sure that if you have down time from work or obligations, not to stress over factors that are completely out of your hands or things that cannot be changed. Do something else that is productive. Take classes on hobbies you have interest in. Watch documentaries. Just keep filling your brain with knowledge. That being said, I am still in the home stretch to adulthood, so now more than ever, I need to focus on working my ass off and impressing people during interviews and job applications, not wondering if this is the right thing for me. If it isn’t, then I can always just switch careers later and then play catch up; I welcome being the underdog. It’s a shit ton of fun to prove to people you are a lot more than they expect you to be.
The thing I appreciate about driven people is that they do not get distracted by relatively pointless things like their own personal problems. I just think about a girl from high school, who I will call Grace. And yes, she was one of those overachieving types I mentioned earlier. She graduated college in two years, and then went into a full ride at Law School, and is graduating from that in another two years, so the same time I’m graduating normal college. And trust me, her personal life stresses me out from just hearing about it. Her parents divorced and both of them moved back to Korea, her brother lives in a different county (not country, so please don’t misread that) than her, and the only family she has is her cat and maybe an occasional boyfriend. And on top of that, she works so that she can pay her rent and bills. And she’s my age. Grace never had the luxury or time to think about her own problems. She just kept pushing. I’m sure she must be hurting emotionally and mentally, but seeing her work through that and keep fighting for her dreams, it’s inspirational to me. And she’s like 6 months younger than me. So if any of you guys ever think you have problems or whatever, just know there are people like Grace who do have it bad, but they endure it and keep achieving. If everyone in the world had the drive like Grace, or the Grace-like drive, then we can all accomplish so much in life. Our own personal problems will seem so small in comparison to our achievements that we won’t even have time to think about them. A world so productive, yet drama-free, it truly would be feather-light.