Keeping an open mind
The brain is the most remarkable organ in the human body. It can build connections, produce commands, and in relation to this blog post it can adapt. On a daily basis, we are reminded of examples that prove adaptability is key. Take for example the fact that the key to survival in evolution is adjusting to change. This concept refers to being able to transform a situation to fit a new purpose, to modify, and in my opinion, it is one of the most fundamental qualities we possess. Of course, when it comes to genetics, adaptability relates to theories of natural selection, but targeted to this blog, mental flexibility lies in one essential factor: open-mindedness.
Although I don't usually show it, being open-minded has always been a challenge. It is so easy for me to trap myself behind this metaphorical door that is my fixed mindset, and once in, I find it hard to escape. I consider myself a quite determined person, even though I find my career path still unknown, I am aware of the areas I dislike. Due to this, I found myself facing a dilemma during the past few weeks.
Starting with t"The Nest", if you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have told you my exact role. I used to be in charge of the website coding and design, a job I was excited to do. Yet all of this changed when we decided to switch to Medium. Now don't get me wrong, I was all for this change, it looked neater and provided a user-friendly platform; nonetheless it put me at a crossroads. My mindset prohibited me from volunteering for tasks that involved English and video-production since I am not interested in pursuing these areas further in my life. Still, I had to find a replacement role, and fast.
After hours of giving it some thought, I stumbled upon an idea that peaked my interest. I decided to apply the concept of Humans of New York to The Nest and propose a Humans of Lima section. Even though I do not want to study journalism nor photography, I was able to incorporate English, media and my passions by making the most out of a situation.
In the end, the nest is still undergoing some major changes, and I might not even have to pursue my role whatsoever. But what is important is that I learned the value of keeping my mind open. Because we cultivate our mindsets based on our perceptions of the universe, so escaping them will always be a challenge. But if we fail at this task, then what separates us from the organisms that lost the race of evolution? Opening our mindsets, though hard to accomplish, is the foundation to adaptability, and adaptability not only leads to growth but also to living a satisfying life.
On starting over
As the month of August progresses, we (class of 2017) move forward to what will be our second to last year of school. With the coming of this new year, us students have been granted the under-rated opportunity to- without sounding overly dramatic- start over.
This chance of beginning again, of pressing the reset button, is one that we don't get too often. For once we get a clean slate, allowing us to leave old habits behind and create a new name for ourselves. But still, something leaves me questioning, how genuine is this clean slate?
Throughout our lives, we create a reputation for ourselves, as we meet people they begin to form what we call expectations of behavior. Even though these expectations may seem harmless at the moment, they do, limit and categorize us in some way. While they won't always be negative in effect, they can strain us from learning opportunities; which is something I have seen happening in these few weeks of school.
For instance, I take into account the first day of I-week in the Innovation Academy; where teachers gave us a task to accomplish and guided us towards dividing into roles. For the purpose of this anecdote, you must understand that I am someone with a great eye for design, and one could say, a passion for it too. I tend to place myself in projects that involve aesthetics, but after a while of repeating this tendency, other people have begun to build this expectation. So, when the time of dividing into roles came upon, everybody already expected me to take part in the design team, which as you can imagine, I did.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that others' thoughts drove me into doing something I disagreed with, I am also to blame. Much like other people expected this from me, I am also part of this group of behaviour. This habit that I have formed can also be called a comfort zone, and when the time of dividing into roles came, I did not choose to escape it.
But still, I wonder, if a genuine clean slate was given, then how come my reputation still followed me? Maybe if nobody expected me to behave some way, maybe if I didn't expect that from myself, I might have been more likely to try another experience. And even though I learned a lot from being on the website design team, by opening my mind to a less known role I could have still broadened my insight. After all, we learn from these new experiences.
I began this winter break not knowing what to do with my life, I had no idea what I wanted to study, what courses I wanted to take, and was doubtful about whether or not I should drop the OPP; but thankfully, I now have a better idea about how my future might pan out.
Through these vacations, I had the chance to be part of a five-week, college preparation program, where I took several classes that allowed me to broaden my knowledge as well as to gain insight on some posible career paths to take;
but it wasn't until arriving to Lima and listening to these two speeches that I was able to make a final decision.
While I was watching Steve Jobs' graduation speech, I found myself relating the dilemma of dropping the OPP to his experience of dropping out of college. In the speech, Jobs specifically says how he followed his intuition and in the end it turned out being the best decision he ever took. See, beyond what Jobs say about finding what he loved, he also ended up finding what he didn't love and took action upon it. He decided that college was not for him, and fled to follow his true passions in life.
As for me, if there is one thing that I am certain of is that the Innovation Academy is my program, and that being said, I had to decide whether I wanted to take Spanish or an elective course. Through the college prep camp I found that the undergrad major I am most interested in is psychology, and me being sure that studying abroad is the right decision for me, the most logical decision to take was to drop the OPP and instead take on a psychology course at school.
Much like Jobs mentioned, taking this decision was pretty scary, many of my peers questioned and had trouble accepting it, but I wasn't about to lead a path into living somebody else's life, so in I chose to trust my gut, to follow my passions and hope that it will all turn out ok. As he said: "There is no reason not to follow your heart."
" Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
- S T E V E J O B S
The This is water speech, by David Foster Wallace also did quite an impression on me. I was able to identify myself with what David called the 'default setting' mindset on. I commonly find myself being swayed by first impressions or indirect stereotypes that my mind creates; failing to understand the fact that everybody has their own story, a story that I am yet to comprehend. Without knowing these stories, who am I to judge?
But after watching this speech I realized that we are the ones who decide how to perceive reality, we are the ones who decide what to consider and how to react.
“The earth has music for those who listen.”