Category Archives: Featured Writer

Featured Friday: Holding On to Childhood Dreams

Today’s Featured Writer is Tina Ho, who wrote about holding on to your dreams.

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“I want to go into space.”
“I want to be a king.”
“I want to rule the world!”

Silly children’s fantasies? You may think so, but these dreams weren’t said because they were empty. To the children on the playground who once said these words, these goals held a passion, held a longing and held hope.

“Get your head out of the clouds!”
“Really? Are you serious? That’s impossible.”

As adults, we hear these statements all the time. We hear them every time we doodle in our notebooks; we hear them every time we look out the window; we hear them every time we think of something unconventional. These are some of the reasons why growing up, we lose our tendency to dream. We get trampled on, pushed on, and realize that there is a distinct line between what is real and what is fantasy. 

Every time I drive home from Atlanta at night, I would look outside the window and see the plethora of lights and skyscrapers. The ambience suddenly made me imagine that I was the Chief Executive Officer of a multi-billion dollar company. I dreamed of myself being able to sit in my office and I relished in the essence of my success. Yet, once I opened my eyes (I was not driving by the way), I realized how far that dream was from where I was. I realized how I was just in a plain Toyota with a plain book bag in the back seat feeling tired from a long, hard day.

I felt that dreaming was bad, because it showed me the place where I could never be; it showed me what I want and just like that, it took my dream away too. I realized how normal I was. I can never be a CEO. I rationalized to myself that I had to be super smart and I had to know the right people. Yet somehow, no matter how much I rationalized, there was still a burning hope that maybe I was wrong and that maybe one day, that dream will come to pass. I later realized that dreams were not meant to show you where you cannot be, but where you CAN and WILL be. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but one day I will be that CEO siting in that office.

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If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Return tomorrow for another article.

 

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Featured Friday: Mendy Yang

Today’s featured writer is Mendy Yang. Mendy is a sophomore at Yale University interested in studying way too many things, but focusing on economics and psychology in particular. The little, “ordinary” things in life makes her happy, like silliness with friends, people’s sincerity, and most of all, love and laughter.

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Halfway through the semester, after complaining for the 2341351235th time about how little I was learning in physics, one of my friends asked me in puzzlement: “Mendy, why are you even taking that class?” I was a bit taken aback, but I immediately poured out a bunch of reasons, the top one among them being “It’s required for pre-med.” 

Over the weekend following that conversation, I realized that maybe I had been deluding myself, just a little bit. I didn’t want to confront that question because the answer was more complicated than I wanted to admit, because the answer revealed something that would throw off the entire balance of my semester. But try as I might, I couldn’t get it out of my mind, and with the course drop deadline quickly approaching, I found myself thinking more and more about why I was taking physics in the first place. Again and again though, the strongest reason that I could come up with was that I wanted to take it in order to fulfill a pre-requisite and keep pre-med open as an option. Otherwise, I didn’t find the material interesting, I wasn’t learning anything from the class, and it certainly wasn’t contributing to my overall enjoyment of life at Yale. 

Despite all of the signs pointing towards the obvious, something held me back from going to the Master’s Office and turning that drop form in. Like most students at Yale, I had never, ever been a “quitter;” I didn’t ditch projects halfway, and I didn’t give up just because something was hard. So even though I hated physics and got nothing out of it, I kept telling myself that to drop it was to fail, and I couldn’t fail, especially at a place like Yale. 

Yet here I am today, physics free. So what changed? Someone told me that “It takes courage to give something up.” When I was confronted with the issue of dropping physics, I finally realized what this seemingly paradoxical statement meant. Dropping physics wasn’t giving up; instead, it was the first time I had ever been brave enough to act for myself. I forgot about what was expected of me, what my parents wanted, what everyone else told me. I dropped physics not because I gave up or because it was too difficult, but because I knew I owed it to myself to make time to think through all of the things I was doing at Yale. Not only to think through it all, but to digest all that I had taken on, to make sense of everything that I had experienced. 

Sitting here now, having just finished the first semester of my sophomore year a week ago, I know that I made the right decision. Since I got to college, I have been constantly doing and reacting, never stopping for a moment to analyze or ponder. Dropping physics didn’t mean that my life fell into place perfectly after that, but it was the first step towards figuring out what I want to do with my future. With the time that I would have spent Facebooking and drifting off in a useless, meaningless, required class, I have instead shadowed professionals in various career fields, talked to a diverse group of experienced professionals and peers, and taken a good look at myself.  

Through this process, if there’s one piece of advice I have for anyone else who is still struggling with choosing a major or settling on a career path, is that no matter what, we cannot settle. Settling for something when we don’t know ourselves and haven’t taken the time to understand ourselves leads to regrets, which is the fastest recipe to disaster. Though I still haven’t decided on my own path yet, I know that I am slowly discovering myself and all of the amazing possibilities out there in a way that I never could had I not said no to walking a set path, to a perfectly laid out route. I realized that before, pre-med’s largest appeal was that it was a path low in risk, one that had already been worked out by so many others. Now, I know that if I end up choosing pre-med, it’ll have to be because it’s the path I want, the battle I want to fight. Otherwise, I now know I have the courage to say no, to assess and re-assess, and ultimately, to embrace a future that I am 100% in love with. I, and every single one of us, owe it to ourselves to find that passion and not to settle for anything less. 

Featured Friday: Persistence (Yuanling Yuan)

Today’s Featured Writer is Yuanling Yuan, an International Chess Master, the founder of the Chess in the Library program, a member of Berkeley College at Yale, and a dear friend. Yuanling will talk about the importance of persistence.

Yuanling at the 2010 Chess Olympiad

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A spasmodic coughing sound drew the attention of six hundred serious looking adults who enjoyed the silent peacefulness and the concurrent tik-tok, tik-tok that came from the analog chess clocks. Every once in a while, these chess players frowned and stole a glance at the source of the disruptive noise, which came from a little girl in pink. With her hair tied in pigtails and her feet dangling way above the ground, she seemed to be in elementary school at most.

However, what caught peoples’ eye was not the girl’s youthfulness but rather this small wet towel that she held up to her forehead at all times. Her other free hand pushed the piece on the chessboard with great effort as her whole body trembled underneath the many extra layers of clothing. Her face was pale white and her eyelids were trying their best to stay open. Everyone at the tournament site looked at the girl in disbelief. Why is she still playing? Why is she doing this to herself? Eight years ago, that little girl was me.

In December 2003, my mother and I took the Greyhound to Las Vegas to play in the 13th Annual North American Open in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, before we even arrived at our destination, I was hit by a high fever and a sore throat. After I threw up all over the bus, the driver nearly threw me out of the window as well. By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was past midnight and my condition was only becoming worse. My mother asked me tenderly, “Yuanling, let’s go home. Let’s withdraw from the tournament.” I had hardly any energy left but I looked at her in the eye and shook my head slowly: “We have come a long way, mom. I can play.” Knowing my stubborn tenacity, my mother nodded without saying another word.

Deep down, I was aware that my parents had spent a great deal of money, time and effort to send me to a large-scaled event like this one so I was determined to make the most out of it, whether sick or not. I trained thirty-five hours a week for this moment – how could I let my physical strength be an excuse to flee from this battle of the mind? I was so passionate about chess that I did not care where, when or how I was playing the game, as long as I was able to manipulate those shiny plastic pieces into a checkmate position. Chess meant much more to me than just a game. It was a medium through which I discovered the most about who I am – a girl who is never, ever, willing to give up.

Thus, I played each of the six games in the tournament with a wet towel on my forehead and a cup of hot chocolate by my side. I did not budge when one of my opponents encouraged me to resign and quit the tournament – I considered it as a clever tactic in attempt to get an easy win. To everyone’s surprise, I won four games and drew one, finishing fourth in my section of over a hundred people.

Perhaps this is simply one example of how my stubborn determination ultimately prevailed but it is the most memorable one. Ever since then, the image of myself in that pose – one hand on the towel and another on the board, encourages me to overcome any challenge that crosses my path to success. I remind myself: “Yuanling, if you can do that at nine with the whole world against you, what is there that you cannot do?” More importantly, had it not been for my persistence, I would have not become the youngest Women International Master in Canada at the age of fifteen.

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You can read more about Yuanling here.

If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Come back tomorrow for another article.

Featured Friday: Public Announcement of Resolutions for 2013

Yesterday, I mentioned why it is important to announce your New Year’s Resolutions, two of our long time readers wanted to take the opportunity to announce their resolution for 2013, but due to the nature of their goal wanted to keep their names anonymous but their resolution public.

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Opening a X Store

*X is being withheld for confidentiality

Goals:

  1. Create a Business Plan
  2. Acquire Funding
  • From Family
  • From Bank Loans
  • From Fellowships
  1. Where to put our store that can maximize publicity and profit
  • The aim is to open a store in an area where there is a high traffic of college students
  • Potential areas: near local colleges and universities
  1. Marketing: how can we spread the word?
  • Facebook
  • Surveys
  • Sales/Deals/Incentives
  • Word of Mouth
  • TV ads
  1. Who do we get our supplies?
  • Research and ask current stores
  1. Buying a store
  • All the legal documents needed to start a business
  • Research FDA’s regulation and follow their guidelines
  1. Décor (who should we hire to decorate and brand my items) (what look are we going for?)
  • Thinking about a store having a relax and modern ambience where college students can mingle or study
  1. Website (who can we hire to start and update my website) (how can we make my website the top search)
  2. Taxes/Forms/Legal stuff
  3. Employees (how many employees should we hire and the pay/benefits that they should receive)

Obstacles that we may encounter:

  1. No funds
  • Apply for Family Loans
  • Apply for more Fellowships
  1. No Customer Loyalty
  • Give incentives/coupons
  • Free samples on the first day
  • Have caring employees so customers will feel more appreciated
  • The more time you come to the store, the more rewards you will get
  1. Competitors
  • Only competitor is Y and there is not a X store anywhere nearby
  1. No Time
  • Make time by cutting less classes/clubs and designate specific time to work on business
  1. Lack of Motivation
  • Read Davis’s Blog
  • Turn to family and friends for support
  1. Lack of experience
  • Ask for advice from people who were successful doing start-ups
  • Find a mentor
  • Read books
  • Go to seminars

Support Network:

  • Family
  • Close Friends

Deadlines for our Goals:

  1. Business Plan à January 6, 2013
  2. Acquire Enough Funding àSummer 2015 (when we decide to buy a store)
  3. Finalizing Location à Summer 2015
  4. Marketing à Winter 2015
  5. Suppliers à Spring 2015
  6. Purchasing a Store à Summer 2015
  7. Décor à Summer 2014/Fall 2015
  8. Creating a Website à Winter 2015
  9. Taxes/Forms/Legal Stuff à Summer 2013/Fall 2014
  10. Employees à Winter 2014

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If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Come back tomorrow for another article.

Featured Friday: Finding Happiness (Christian Rhally)

Today’s featured writer is Christian Rhally, a second-year student at Yale from Switzerland. Majoring in Economics, he is interested in the intersection between human wellbeing, economic development, and a sustainable resource management. At Yale, he is the co-founder and President of InspireYale, a student organization that promotes creative thinking and educational programs on happiness for the New Haven and Yale community, and he is also a board member of the Yale Leadership Institute. In this article, he talks about how life and life’s brevity push one forward.

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This past October, I was invited to speak at the Ivy League International Students Networking Conference (ILINC) at the University of Pennsylvania. The subject of the conference was “Empowering International Students”, and the organizers of the conference asked me to hold a one-hour long presentation on a subject related to empowering students.

I thought about what empowers me, and especially what has given me strength throughout my life. Of course, my family and friends came to my mind, but this was an answer that I considered to be too simple and obvious. I wanted to bring a fresh and personal perspective on empowerment, and so I thought: “What are the thoughts or actions that have empowered me, and that represent something special that I could bring to my audience?” After some moments of reflection, two of the most important ones came to my mind: life and its brevity.

1 – We should not take our lives for granted

I think that the fact of living is empowering in itself. What were the chances that your parents met and conceived you? What were the chances that you, and I, were born? There were tiny chances for us to exist and to be here now, and so the fact that we are alive should not be taken for granted. No matter what our religion is (including agnosticism and atheism), we should always see our time here on Earth as an opportunity that we could have not received.

 I am not saying that life is always “good”. Sometimes, living can be painful, stressful, or scary. And sometimes, we might think that we would be better off dead. Even though this thought seems to be justifiable sometimes, I am convinced that looking at the larger picture throws these thoughts away. Despite all of our suffering, life, with its good and bad moments, is better than “nothing”. Life, in all its various conditions and forms, is better than having never lived. You could have never been born, I could have never been born, and the universe itself could have never existed… but we are here and now. The fact that we are alive is therefore extraordinary. 

 

2 – The brevity of life pushes one forward 

It is indeed extraordinary to be alive. However, something that could seem even more surprising is the fact that this life will not last forever. Some day, you and I will not be here anymore – or at least, considering different religions, we will not live as the same beings as we are now. We often forget about the brevity of our lives, and live as if we would never die. Nevertheless, it is essential to take the time to remember, from time to time, that we are going to die. Our time on Earth is limited, and we should be careful on how we use it. This is especially important in times of choices: “Should I enter this career?”, “What should I do: go to graduate school or do this internship?” Knowing that our time is limited (and that we could never have these same possibilities again) helps us see what we really want to do.

This is how the brevity of life empowers me. The fact that I am going to die constantly gives me a “bigger picture” on life, as well as a larger perspective on my successes and failures. Should I really care about this bad grade in school, knowing that I am going to die in a not too distant future (a couple of decades maybe)? Well, yes I should care about this bad grade, but this grade should not make me feel bad about myself. I am still alive, and this fact, because of its extraordinariness and its brevity, lifts me above my failure and pushes me forward.

As I was preparing my presentation for ILINC, thinking about these two essential thoughts gave me a new, fresh confidence. I was empowered, and felt that this presentation could inspire others and empower them. Now, I try to think about these thoughts every time I feel sad, angry or stressed, or when I lose the meaning that I want for my life. Yes, my life should not be taken for granted, and so I feel grateful for having the opportunity to be alive. Yes, I understand that I am going to die, and so I use my time wisely to become the person I truly want to be. These thoughts have not only helped me through difficult moments, but they have also led me towards a more meaningful life.

Exercise:

Take a moment every day (or as often as you want) to think and write down something for which you are grateful. You will spend time thinking about the positive in your life, and it will probably make you a happier person. These two apps can remind you about it:

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If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Come back tomorrow for another article.

Featured Friday: “The Little Things in Life” (Kathy Phan)

Kathy is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles College at Yale University.  She is from Katy, TX.  She is an Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and Political Science major.  In her spare time, she enjoys eating hot wings, watching the Houston Texans, and reading the Western canon.

Today, she talks about the power of having even small goals and doing things you enjoy.

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At the end of freshman year last year, I constantly felt bad about myself.  I surrounded myself around a lot of negative people, and I was no longer doing things for me.  I let other people influence my decisions, and I would do what they wanted me to do out of fear of disappointing them.  Although my friends had my best interests at heart, I no longer felt good about anything I was doing.  I was always trying to calculate how to please the most people, but that usually meant sacrificing my own wishes.

That is why at the start of sophomore year, I started doing little things just for me.  I wanted to do things that I could control.  I wanted to do things that made me feel confident and happy.  They were never anything big.  They were little habits that made me feel better at the start and end of my day.  These things motivated me to take better control over my life.  For example, ever since the first day of school until it started getting cold, I wore dresses to class every day.  Personally, wearing a dress makes me feel better about myself.  It motivates me to make a concerted effort about how I look every morning.  I feel more prepared if I am able to control what I wear in the morning.  It doesn’t make much sense, but I was excited to wake up in the morning if I knew I was wearing a dress that day.  I no longer rushed out of my dorm room wearing sweats and a hoodie.  When I am rushed in the morning, it starts my day off on a bad note which affects my whole day. 

I also enjoyed wearing dresses because it was something small that I knew I could accomplish.  It feels really rewarding when you accomplish your goals, and setting small, achievable goals will make this possible.  My New Year’s resolution this year was to floss once a day, and so far, so good.  I realized that setting New Year’s resolutions like “I will get all A’s this semester” or “I will lose 10 pounds” can be really discouraging because I did not have a plan for what I should do every day.  If I was unable to achieve these goals, I felt inadequate and unaccomplished.  Instead, if I set goals like “I will spend at least an hour at the library every day” or “I will swim laps every Saturday morning,” I would feel much better about myself because these goals are easy and achievable.  These goals are also within my control. 

Sometimes, it is still very difficult for me to get an A no matter how hard or how much I study.  Sometimes, it is difficult for me to lose weight no matter how much salad I eat.  Instead of looking at the end goal, I decided that setting small goals would make me feel better about myself on a daily basis.  Just this change in my mindset enabled me to achieve greater goals because I was no longer being hindered by myself.  Because wearing dresses made me feel good about myself, I was more motivated to go to the gym, eat healthy, and study.  Of course I do not eat healthy every day, but setting small goals makes me realize that I am still accomplishing what I want to accomplish overall. 

Everyone can do something every day that will make them feel better about themselves.  My friend Rosa wears a flower in her hair every day, and this works for her.  It is something she can control, and it is something she does just for her and no one else.  As college students, it’s so easy to feel pressure in so many directions.  Doing something just for you will make you realize that it is your life, and you should control how you feel about your life.  It is the little things in life that truly make you happy.   

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If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Come back tomorrow for another article.

Featured Friday: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Today’s Featured Writer is Alex La Pierre, who will talk about Working Smarter instead of Harder. Alex is a junior at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. She is a communications major with a french minor. She enjoys riding horses in her spare time and manages and performs with both the Berry College Symphony Orchestra and the Berry String Quartet.

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College started, the first syllabus was handed out and you realized that you might be in over your head. There are four exams to study for, 3 projects, one oral presentation, and a quiz each week for just this one class. But, it’s almost the end of the semester and you’re still going. However, exams and final projects are just around the corner. Don’t panic!

Remember: 

  • You’ve made it this far. There’s nothing saying you can’t keep going. Where there is a will, there is a way.
  • Every grade may not be perfect in college. Most professors are more concerned about what you learn from the project, as opposed to the grade you get. They want to know that you have grasped the material. Show them you care. Stop by their office hours to ask not why you didn’t get the grade you wanted, but what knowledge you should have demonstrated or what you could have done better. If you happen to have that professor who doesn’t want to discuss it (occasionally, and hopefully only occasionally this happens), talk to a student who did well on the project. How did they approach the project differently than you did?

As the end approaches, implement these strategies for success:

  1. “Most great learning happens in groups.” –Sir Kenneth Robinson, Ph.D. 

Make more friends. Sit with different people at lunch and dinner times. Don’t sit alone. Your best assets in college, and in life, will be your friends. We are social creatures as humans and above all else, we need each other. From midnight Wal-Mart runs for late-night study sessions to simple questions like “how can I phrase this sentence better?” keeping a close set of good, supportive, helpful friends will make the end of the semester, and college as a whole, so much better.

       2. Take walks/ play Frisbee. Breathe.

It’s Sunday afternoon and you’ve got a major paper due Monday morning. You’ve been at the library for hours typing away and all of a sudden writer’s block hits. You’re still far from where you need to be. Frustration settles in, Facebook pages are uploaded, and naturally procrastination (unfortunately most-likely unstructured procrastination) consumes time that cannot be wasted because that paper has to be done today. Instead of letting time slip away, make it productive by taking a walk. Mental separation is imperative to good writing. Writing is a process that is done best in segments, involving hard work for some time and then a literal break in concentration that allows the brain to subconsciously connect streams of thought that present themselves when we return to our work.

You do a greater disservice to yourself by not physically separating yourself from the project and continuing to forcibly sit in front of the computer without making adequate progress. Sometimes it’s just better to walk away for a while. If you have a close acquaintance or a friend nearby, grab them too! This is great time to work on the first strategy to success- making friends! And, if you say it’s physics homework you are worried about, the same standard holds! Even the concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, David Coucheron, only practices when he knows that he’ll be able to concentrate. Otherwise, he goes for a walk.

       3. Finally, be happy. Smile often.

Yes, I realize, this step is often easier said than done. However, a constant frown and ill temper will do nothing to encourage improvement or the maintenance of consistent progress. A sense of humor and the ability to laugh at life’s little mishaps goes a long way.

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If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Return tomorrow for another article.

Featured Friday: “Good” and “Bad” Indecision

Today’s Featured Writer is Miguel Goncalves, a first-year student at Yale and immigrant from Caracas, Venezuela. A Bezos Scholar, he recently founded a student-run leadership and entrepreneurship initiative called the YELL (Youth Empowerment and Leadership Learning) Organization, which is now in its second year of helping Central Florida teens find their passions. He talks about the true potential of indecision, both within his life and beyond.

Anyone need directions?

Anyone need directions?

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At the dawn of my college career, I was thrust into one of what would be countless discussions about future plans:

“So, what are y’all going to study?” someone asked.

Person A (I have intelligently assigned them a codename) replied enthusiastically: “I’m set on a double-major in Chemistry and Psychology with a Neurology track, plus a few music theory courses on top of that!” Person B, equally on top of their game, laid out what seemed like the rest of their life. “Since elementary school, I’ve wanted to be a theoretical physicist. Ergo, I’m planning on finishing an intensive Physics major by my junior year, with some breathing room for grad school applications and research grant proposals my senior year.”

And along came Person M: “Uh, I have no idea. I’ll get back to you on that…”

One of these answers is not like the others. In the event that my ingenious codenames have gone undeciphered, I am Person M. The killjoy of “life plans” conversations. Captain Indecision. The catalyst of the raised “AWKWARD!” flag in everyone’s mind.

Nowadays, it seems like fewer and fewer college students are like me. Indecision is increasingly seen as a conscious decision to delay progress. Even at Yale, an admittedly liberal arts institution, the pressure to specialize is palpable. Engineering majors, for instance, are all but required to start their majors as freshmen or risk not fulfilling their requirements, while combined Bachelors/Masters degree programs dazzle prospective students with the benefits of focusing their life paths quickly. In my experience, the paradigm of an exploratory undergraduate experience has given way to encouraging individuals dead-set on one of countless possible futures.

I, for one, advocate distancing ourselves from this ideology. Don’t get me wrong: if you happen to fall into the category of someone who is always dead-set on decisions, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My point is not to make everyone question every choice they will ever make (leave that to the Skeptics), but rather to make it known that there is a place for indecision in our lives. There is nothing wrong with an “I don’t know,” especially when it has the power to transform you into something much more powerful.

I can see the waves of doubt likely propagating across many a reader’s minds. There are cases, after all, in which indecision is highly detrimental. How can it be okay?

The best way to answer this pressing question is with a phenomenon I call “good indecision.” My own lesson is that not knowing is a perfectly acceptable and even expected (gasp!) part of life. Depending on the situation, an inability to make a decision is intrinsically “good” or “bad,” depending on the soon-to-be decision maker’s mentality. Let’s take a look at two different scenarios to see what I mean:

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  • Scenario 1

Faced with indecision on a college major and career path, Person M “hopes” he will have things figured out by the end of his college career. He enrolls in courses his friends are doing with the assumption that they will be more enjoyable with people whom he knows. He waits for an epiphany moment in which he knows exactly what he will do. When faced with the choice of meeting with faculty or other students in different majors, he refuses and argues it is pointless to talk to people about their field if he might ultimately not pursue it.

If asked once again about his plans, Person M might say, “I don’t know. I’ll figure it out eventually.”

  • Scenario 2

Uncertain about his college or career path, Person M plans out a course load that allows him to explore various disciplines. He sets a final deadline as to when he needs to decide on a major in addition to intermediate goals that have him sampling different courses of study, meets with faculty members to discuss his prospects, and charts out future class plans that allow for versatility before eventually making the unavoidable decision. He is proactive about seeking out new opportunities and uses them to create an working map of his life. Though he’s terrible at drawing, he’s still a pretty decent cartographer.

If you were to ask him about his major two months later, Person M might say, “I’m still not sure, but I’m exploring as much as I can to make sure that I know when the time comes.”

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As seen in the first scenario, what I call “bad” indecision is a disturbingly passive (and stressful) lifestyle. For me especially, “hoping” for a decision to reveal itself without any actual effort has proven to be a risky endeavor. As indecision leads to inaction, the “you’ll figure it out” ideology will apply less and less. At the end of the road is a black hole—an inescapable void replete with self-doubt. This phenomenon is exactly why people and societies alike seem to affix negative labels on indecisive people.

We now arrive at my central piece of advice: work to break away from this stigma, and turn indecision into something more! In stark contrast, “good indecision” in Scenario 2 involves an active effort to explore possibilities and actionable intermediate goals before the decision. Whether the final deadline is extrinsically (a paper due date, for instance) or intrinsically motivated (when you “feel” you should decide on a career path) does not matter.

In the second scenario, Person M is doing the best possible thing. Even if he is not entirely sure what to do by the time the deadline arrives, he will have gained enough insight into who he is to make a much more informed decision. Though his views could change at some point in the future and better alternatives could come up —the information we obtain today, after all, is never “perfect”— Person M has done all he can to put himself in the best position at that given time. He’s conquered the cloud of doubt; he’s done the not-so-impossible.

I end with a quick recap:

  1. Indecision is a normal part of life. Do not feel pressured by those around you to make a hasty choice.
  2. “Good indecision” in the kind of indecision that one actively strives to resolve, i.e., what ultimately turns into a course of action. The final decision may not be ideal, and almost always based on incomplete information, but once it’s made, the “good” that has led up to it has netted a fundamentally positive outcome.

As you chart your own journey and the darkness of uncertainty hits, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone, you will figure it out, and that with the right mindset, reaching the final decision is not as impossible as it seems to be. You are Person X, and the world is yours to explore! 

MG

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If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Return tomorrow for another article.

Featured Friday: Opportunity (Juan Cerda)

Today’s Featured Friday writer is Juan, who is returning for his second article (you can find first article here). Juan, who just a year ago, couldn’t even leave the country or apply for an internships is turning his life around one opportunity at a time. He writes about having no regrets and taking advantages of the opportunities that come your way.

Credit to markhodgins of Flickr

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My little truck lay stranded on the edge of the two-lane road, its motor puffing columns of steam into the dry summer air. Nothing I had tried to fix it worked; after hours of pointless poking and prodding, I slammed the truck’s hood down. Sweaty, dejected, and defeated, I limped to the edge of the road and sat down, head drooping. And there I stayed. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to notice the vehicles that sped past me, speedsters that I could have stopped to ask for help. Opportunities flew away. Roads were not taken. Help didn’t come. What was I to do?

Shaken by a tremendous rumble, I pushed myself off the ground and gazed into the distance. An 18-wheeler rolled down the road, its gigantic wheels raising large quantities of dust. I had very little time to react; I knew that truck drivers always go into town, where I could get tools to fix my vehicle.  I immediately began waving frantically at the truck, fearing that it would also pass me by. The truck driver saw me and halted. Thankfully, the trucker driver agreed to drop me off at the nearest town when I asked him if I could hitch a ride. I was able to get a ride into town that day because I took advantage of the biggest opportunity that came my way.

 Sometimes we wallow in situations where all we can do is wait for opportunities to come to us. We often stagnate in the same day-to-day routine, sometimes happily, other times miserably. But living in the same situation is not bad in and of itself; it is when we miss opportunities that stagnation is truly lamentable. We are often too preoccupied with how much our life sucks to catch sight of exciting prospects that we accidentally come across. We forget to look to each side of the two-lane road and search for cars that could potentially be our ride away from our broken present. Sometimes it takes the roar of a big 18-wheeler to snap us into action.

 You should look around to see where great opportunities are coming from. Friends, family, and acquaintances are mediums through which you can land your dream job, meet new people, or embark on adventures. Oftentimes opportunities will present themselves in the workplace, at school, or on a trip. To catch sight of these great chances for self-improvement, be ready to take risks and stay open to change in your life. Be alert for job openings, potential markets for entrepreneurship, dating matches, educational opportunities, community events, fun things, etc. The possibilities are endless!   

As a Yale undergraduate, I have many more opportunities to take advantage of. With new opportunities come new goals. I plan on studying abroad either during the summer or the regular school year, I hope to intern at a major financial firm in the coming years, I look forward to learning French next semester, and I am eager to receive deferred action this month. Without a doubt, my aspirations will increase as more unexpected occurrences happen to me.

Opportunities will come to you. Whenever you are stuck, all you have to do is look up.

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If you have any comments, suggestions for future topics, or want write contact me at findmymotivation@gmail.com.

My blog is updated daily. Come back tomorrow for a Featured Friday article.

Yuanling Yuan’s Featured Friday Post has been rescheduled

Check out for further details.