Failure is Not Inevitable

It’s been months since I last posted anything. The toxicity of my academics until the end of March and the wave of laziness that comes with the heat of summer resulted in a dry spell for my writing. But I’m back.

And I feel like shit.

The good news: I ran for a position in the executive board of a student organization I’m part of. It was my first time jumping headfirst into something I honestly wasn’t prepared for. The bad: I lost. The worst: I ran unopposed.

So, how could a seemingly perfectly competent college student who’s passionate, dedicated, and committed to this particular organization lose despite running unopposed? The answer, after putting much thought into it, is simple – I wasn’t good enough.

While this may seem like the (slightly) depressed part of me thinking negatively, the more rational part of my brain would simply have to agree. I just wasn’t good enough. Yes, I prepared a fairly decent General Plan of Action (GPOA) and consulted with the other members on how to best address the issues faced by the department I was running for, but what killed my chance at winning was the convocations. After mumbling my way through my GPOA presentation, the panel (consisting of senior members of the org) started asking me questions. The first one was, “What is your target number of raises?” My answer was “I don’t have one.”

It went downhill from there. I was asked for “conversion rates”, and I confidently proclaimed that “I don’t have those numbers with me.” I was asked for a timeline of activities, and I spontaneously generated a bunch of crap that would make anyone of a multitude of cramming college students’ jaws drop in awe.

I knew the moment it was over that I was done. I could feel the sadness, or perhaps disappointment, that the other (thankfully very few) people in the room felt for me. I wanted to go home and cry.

A few days passed and I began to mistakenly think the panel would give me this position. I fooled myself into thinking that after the incoherent, clueless mess of myself that I had shown them earlier, they would remain encouraged to give me their vote of confidence.

Of course, I was wrong. And in an election decided by 30% of our org members’ votes and 70% (SEVENTY PERCENT) of the panel’s judgment, I lost. My immediate reaction was sadness, immediately followed by anger. Anger at myself for not being good enough. Anger at my mind for not thinking of crunching those numbers or setting those goals beforehand. And while it would be more comforting for me to put the blame on someone else, anyone else, apart from myself, that simply isn’t right. It’s not my orgmates’ fault for supporting my campaign. It’s not the panel’s fault for not being sufficiently impressed by me. It’s mine. The fault is solely mine.

But you know what, it’s okay. While accepting failure never gets any easier (at least, it hasn’t for me yet), learning from it does. And the lesson I get from this addition to the long list of failures in my life is that when you think you’ve done good enough, you have to do even harder. An extra hour or two of research and consultation for my GPOA, or an extra run-through of my presentation could have been all it took to make me Vice President of our org by now. But I didn’t bother doing those things for a number of reasons. I became overconfident because I was running unopposed. I was too lazy to ask more questions. I was too shy to approach people from other universities.

A second round of applications were opened for the same position I ran for and I still have the option to apply again. While writing this has certainly reignited my wanting to run, I don’t think I’m ready to lose two elections in a row.

How about you? What failures have you experienced in life, and what lesson did you derive from them?

Cheers.

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Brave

It’s that feeling of doing something that scares the shit out of you and saying “fuck it”. It’s when your mom tells you to wash the dishes and you end up breaking a whole bunch of them, and you own up to it instead of blaming it on the dog. It’s when you can go to sleep without worrying about the monsters under your bed.

Brave. But I concur with people throughout history who argue that bravery isn’t something you get or develop, it’s simply the absence of fear. Being brave is not a choice we make. It’s simply an option we take when every other one is simply unacceptable.

That’s exactly how I feel right now – brave.

In one of my major classes, we were required by our professor to create a handwritten letter. This was to be addressed to any individual in our lives, be it family or friend, with the goal of improving our interpersonal relationship with them.

We were given a good two weeks before the deadline, but for some reason, I remained undecided. There were two people I wanted to write to: my parents, or my crush. Let’s call him Gecko. Gecko’s a boy, and I’m a boy too.

So after giving myself a headache and realizing the deadline was less than 12 hours away, I scribbled away on a yellow pad, pouring my heart out and exposing myself – the real me – to a guy who I wasn’t that close too.

I didn’t have the opportunity to give him the letter in private earlier, so I just typed it out online and linked it to him privately on Facebook. In other news, I may never open my Facebook account again. 

Seriously though, the anxiety is killing me. Will he get mad and offended, subsequently staying away from me? Or will he be okay with it and everything will be fine. I am strongly hoping for the latter.

Cheers.

Lawyer Up

One question we’ve all been asked at one point of our lives is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And after realizing that becoming a superhero or a mermaid was not exactly realistic, we start thinking about our possible jobs in the future.

Now, I grew up watching a wide variety of American TV series. i remember watching ER and thinking of being a doctor. The good thing is that I’m not very squeamish, and I enjoy watching gory horror films. Some people would even refer to such movies as “torture porn”. However, the path to wearing that white coat and stethoscope around one’s neck was both 1) expensive and 2) long. Not to mention the fact that most pre-med courses involved a lot of math, chemistry, and physics. I feel like I could handle the chemistry and struggle through the physics, but its really the math that would get me.

Then I thought of the people who would stand in front of me from 8 AM to 4 PM from Monday to Friday for ten months: teachers. I’m pretty good at explaining concepts and ideas to other people. But teachers do so much work for little pay. Their patience is tested constantly, and I happen to be a very impatient person. Their social lives and behavior even outside school is greatly restricted by having to be role models for the youth. Thus, they are expected to be prim and proper at all times. No cussing, no provocative clothing or too much makeup, no smoking or drinking in or near the school.

So whenever I was asked this question, I said I want to be a lawyer. It’s certainly not the heated arguments, overwhelming paperwork, or constant pressure that caught my eye. It was, in all honesty, the supposed money. I have an aunt who graduated from the top law school in our country, and her life now is my dream life. She lives alone in a decent condominium unit, has her own car and driver, travels around the Philippines, collects paintings, has no debts and lots of savings, etc. There was no motivation to defend the oppressed or seek justice. There wasn’t any emotion behind my choice.

Of course, my parents, friends, and teachers all made it clear to me how challenging and tiring law school is. And after that, you still had to face the bar exam. Pass and you will be celebrated and praised. Fail and your dreams will be temporarily crushed.

According to one professor, there’s already an oversupply of lawyers in the world today. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll become a six figure earning hotshot. There’s not nearly as much glamour and excitement. There’s just more of what you had in law school: stress, pressure, and fatigue. I also recall reading an article about lawyers having the highest burnout rate among professions. Apparently, most lawyers stop practicing law upon reaching the age of 40 or 50.

It’s discouraging, of course. And being realistic, I considered other options I could explore after college. For some reason, I want to pursue something more. I just don’t want to stop with my undergraduate degree. Right now, I’m also considering taking a master’s degree in communication, economics, or finance.

However, law school is still my first priority. While I admit that I was first attracted to it by the money, I now fully understand that it is not guaranteed. Nothing ever really is guaranteed. But I don’t really know why I want to be a lawyer. Is it for truth and justice? Is it for the sake of being a lawyer? Is it to prove that I am intelligent, skilled, and determined enough to survive law school and pass the bar? Maybe all of the above.

I hope to find the answer soon. I don’t want to go to law school without knowing exactly why, since it appears immense willpower is necessary to force yourself to stay there. And while I can only imagine exactly how hard it will be, I just keep in mind that nothing great ever comes easily.

This post was inspired by a Daily Prompt: Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.

Cheers.

100 Happy Days

I think most college students would agree with me when I say that one can never have too many ways to procrastinate. This little project of mine may be just another addition to a long list of ways.

About two weeks ago, I noticed the #100HappyDays pop up on my Facebook feed and Twitter timeline. Then I discovered its website.

The question was simple: can you be happy for 100 days in a row?

My instinctive answer was no. But for the heck of it, and for a few more minutes away from reviewing for an exam, I kept on reading. The point of the challenge was to take a picture of someone or something that made you happy, everyday, for 100 consecutive days.

Supposedly, 71% of people who have tried this challenge failed. But the 29% who did complete it became more optimistic, more thankful for what they have, and generally happier.

So I jumped into it, on this day, February 8, 2014. Never mind how little free time I have left everyday. Forget the deadlines, stress, and pressure.

I will be sharing some of the pictures I’ll be capturing here, and I’ll also write about how much (or little, because anything’s possible) has changed in my life. After the first 25 days, perhaps? Or maybe at the end of the whole 100 days.

If you have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, daily Internet access, and the necessary commitment, I encourage to try doing this challenge together with me… and a few thousand other people.

Cheers.

INTJ

That’s my personality type, according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).My way of thinking, decision-making, leadership, social interaction, habits, and idiosyncrasies can supposedly be explained by this personality test. What I know about myself should be found within those 4 letters: INTJ.

I is for Introversion, N is for Intuitive, T is for Thinking, and J is for Judging. I remember the first time I took this test was after seeing a friend of mine post her results. I was curious, so I took it, and ended up with those four letters: INTJ. About a year or two after that, I joined the Specialized Unit (SU) of AIESEC in our university. Our SU President required everyone to take this same test, and I still ended up with the same four letters: INTJ.

The first time I took that test, I only scanned the profile description and moved on to watching YouTube videos or something. But today, I felt like taking a closer look at it. I found a few websites dedicated to different personality profiles, and read a lot of assumptions about how INTJs are. So, I’ve decided to play a little game. I’m going to list some excerpts from the INTJ profile found on this website, then I’ll say if it’s True or False, whether it applies to me or not.

“INTJ personalities radiate self-confidence, relying on their huge archive of knowledge spanning many different topics and areas. INTJs usually begin to develop that knowledge in early childhood (the “bookworm” nickname is quite common among INTJs) and keep on doing that later on in life.” True. I was a voracious reader from a young age. As I entered my teenage years, I developed an appetite for science fiction, fantasy, and thriller novels, including any combination of those three. As for the “radiate self-confidence” part, not really. With my close friends perhaps, but generally, I’m not radiating anything except a sense of awkwardness. I think adding the phrase “pretend to” before that part would make it more accurate.

“INTJs know what they know and more importantly – they are confident in that knowledge. Unsurprisingly, this personality type can be labelled as the most independent of all types.” Partly true. I do know what I know, and I also know what I don’t know. Thinking about it, I am confident in the things I know. Do you know what you know and what you don’t know? But I wouldn’t consider myself independent just yet. I enjoy being by myself and working alone, but there quite a few things I need to learn.

“INTJ personalities do not seek nor enjoy the spotlight and may often decide to keep their opinions to themselves if the topic of discussion does not interest them that much.” True. I’m known by my family, friends, and acquaintances as a quiet person. I am an obvious introvert, seeing how I rarely initiate conversations nor do I willingly jump into one with people I’m not close to or at the very least comfortable with.

“INTJ personalities are perfectionists and they enjoy improving ideas and systems they come in contact with.” True. I am a perfectionist. Every time I work on something, I have this vision of how the output should be like. When I’m part of a team or group, I immediately set expectations for all of my group mates. I do this even when I’m not the leader. I also have this habit of “evaluating” people, even if it’s my first time meeting or interacting with them. Some thoughts that usually run across my mind include “she should stand up straighter” or “he needs to loosen up a bit”. Maybe this is bad, but I still do it.

“An INTJ would assess all possible situations, calculate strategic and tactical moves, and more often than not develop a contingency plan or two as well.” True. I plan. I always plan. I plot out everything I need to do in a day, including how many hours I’ll allot for procrastination. I prepare for the worst in situations you’d think would never possibly go wrong.

“They are natural leaders and excellent strategists, but willingly give way to others vying for a leadership position, usually people with Extroverted personalities (E personality type).” True. I was like this since my elementary years. Even if I had the chance to become the leader of the team, if there was someone else who I recognized to be a “leader”, I usually let them take the position. Not-so-fun fact: I classify my batch mates as either “leader” or “follower” types.

“INTJs find it very difficult to handle romantic relationships, especially in their earliest stages. People with this personality type are more than capable of loving and taking care of the people close to them, but they are likely to be completely clueless when it comes to attracting a partner.” True. I belong to the NGBSB club – No Boyfriend/Girlfriend Since Birth. It’s a not-so-exclusive club that includes teenagers and young adults, maybe even adult adults, across the entire world. I have loved people before but it has always remained unrequited, mainly because I never explicitly let them know about it.

Well, it turns out that personality test was pretty accurate. I don’t think this post was a fun read for you, but I certainly enjoyed writing it. I guess you can look at your reading this post as a “getting to know a random stranger on the Internet” experience.

If you want to learn more about yourself or just procrastinate for a few minutes, try taking this test. Then play the game I just made up. I would love to learn more about you too, random stranger on the Internet.

Cheers.