Friday, August 3, 2012

A character building exercise

I did not pass my driving test on my first go. My sister, the perfect daughter, passed it on her first go and set the standard for the rest of us (only me, actually). I passed it on my third attempt. This is somewhat typical of me – I fail and then I try again. Then I fail, again and then I try, again. And again and again, until I get what I seek out to achieve. It is for this reason that persistence is my middle name.

In my previous life, I was a young teenager who was eager to drive, so much so that I managed to get my parents to send me to a driving school. This is partially because I was desperate to grow up and living in a place with terrible public transport (the kind that is so terrible that my parents forbid me from getting into it). I have always viewed myself as a free spirit. I was born to fly – maybe not so literally – but I want to set my own destinations, my own route and well, you guessed it, my own vehicle.

Ah, to be so young and to be so idealistic. I am pretty sure a lot have changed since then, but deep down, these are the things that I still dream about. These are the elements of life that I seek out to have in everything that I do: my own list of things to do, my own way of achieving them, my own tunes, my own rhythm; my dance of life. I am never one to blend with the crowd, but I never try to stand out either, at least not deliberately anyway. I just like staying true to myself and if there is anything in my life that I do well, then that would need to be one of those things.

I was (and in some days, still am) an impatient driver. I am aware of this and I try so so hard to be patient, not just when driving, but when living life in general. I admit that patience is far away from becoming one of my forte, and I am starting to realize that it is a skill worth acquiring, thus the extra effort to be patient. I know that my definition of patient is no where near the real definition of patient; baby steps, alright. One step at a time.

There is something about failing. It builds character. I know that whenever I fail at something, my first reaction is that I am angry with myself. I am always hard on myself and I set a personal standard that is up to my liking, and this is often higher than the average standard. I do not consider it a success, for example, if I manage to pass a subject back in college. I have to get a minimum of A. I do not consider it a success if I manage to just graduate, I want to graduate summa cum laude. And I only managed to graduate magna cum laude. To me, aiming is comparable to shooting for the stars: the higher, the better. At times I get to where I want to be, the rest of the times, close to it. Before I get there, I hit many brick walls. I have to find ways around them, including learning to jump higher.

When I am desperate enough for something, I end up surprising myself a lot more than I surprise the people around me. Somehow, I got lucky this way – I always have someone who believes in me, in the moments that I have doubts in my own abilities. I always have someone who willingly offers a helping hand so that I can be that much better, so that I can run that much faster, and jump that much higher. I have these teachers in my life who do not even consider themselves as teachers, but are the ones who end up teaching me so much about myself that I do not even know before. When you have someone who brings out the best in you, being your best becomes a natural extension of life. There is nothing else to do other than being your best. It becomes your character.

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