Teenage years are quite amazing. You start to experience the roller coaster transformation from being a kid to an adult. You are often given a briefing about your future, how to perceive it, how to embrace it and how to face it. You tend to pick a career path and start pursuing it. You start experiencing the broader world beyond the four walls, start to build opinions on various aspects of life. Your thoughts start taking shape while you put it into practice. So you take your experiences, your beliefs, your feelings and march towards adulthood.
During my under-graduation days I’ve seen my friends and people around me exhibit confidence like pros making me wonder where do they get this belief from. They used to handle situations with ease. Some people were so good at making friends that it appeared they knew what it means to be a social animal, and some others were excellent at knowing what they were doing with their life in terms of professional growth. Some people did not know what they wanted out of life at that point but were still confident.
What I failed to understand at that point in life was that those people had self-belief. Belief in their abilities, belief that they are worthy of being something in life, not just in terms of achieving professional growth but in terms of being the person they want to be. It appeared they also had a vision along with self-belief.
The amazing thing about self-belief is that when you make couple of mistakes or have certain setbacks you can rely on it to bounce back. You would know that these setbacks are temporary and are learning curves in your life, and they do not define you. What defines you is the belief in your own abilities.
During my younger days, self-belief was beyond my imagination because even before I entered my teenage years I started experiencing Mental Health issues. Anxiety and Depression successfully got into my head before any sort of self-belief could. And they made such deep inroads into my mind that I had no clue what it meant to be confident or for that matter what it meant to live life like a normal human being.
They say that experiences also shapes ones belief. My experiences were pretty bad. As a kid, I wanted to be an outgoing guy who could enjoy life the way I wanted to, but in reality I was a shy and introverted guy growing up in an overprotective environment. So the difference between who I was and who I wanted to be was vast. I couldn’t recognise the difference at that point because I let those unsuccessful experiences define me early on in my life which opened the doors to depression. I was not practical in terms of trying to work on that gap and bring it down.
This journey extended into my 20’s as I continued to be anxious and depressed and also clueless about what I wanted out of life. I did random management jobs without any particular ambition of achieving anything worthwhile. That self-belief was lacking. After an outrageous attempt at trying to establish a career on the business side of sports (in late 20s) failed I felt I had no purpose nor any inspiration in life.
While working in sports for a bit I bumped into marketing and continued to work in marketing stream even after I had to leave the sports industry. Something started to feel right after a while. It appeared like I was finding my mojo.
Ever since I had this feeling that marketing was my kind of thing, my life started to change. I got something to cling on to and say that this is something I can keep doing for the rest of my life and be happy. This is something that has given me hope. This is something that has given me confidence to go out and speak to people. This is something that has now given me a proper answer to the question that people throw at me asking ‘So what do you do?’. And more importantly this is THE thing that has given me my ‘Self-Belief’.
Now I continue to feel down at times and question myself about what I am doing, but the emergence of my belief system has given me long-term hope. I am far from being a successful individual but now I feel like my friends during those under-graduation days who used to exhibit raw confidence that they are truly living their lives and are worthy of achieving success the way they visualised it.
That core ‘Belief System’ is starting to take shape and giving me a base for me to go and achieve what I want to going forward in life. It took me so long to find my passion but it has finally arrived. It has arrived 25 years after Depression and Anxiety got hold of me but I am glad it has finally arrived.
Yes, my timelines in life are different to others. But after so much frustration and disappointment and negativity and loneliness, I begin to feel alive finally.