I am a fairly neurotic person with anxiety, and because of that I often find myself getting in my own way. What I mean by this is that in social situations I often find myself imagining the absolute worst case scenarios, for instance once I was walking into a class about ten minutes late and I envisioned the teacher shaming me for that in front of the class before asking me to leave, and from there I would argue and make up an excuse as to why I couldn’t be there in time, essentially causing a big scene which would make me feel even more ashamed than showing up late did. This of course didn’t actually happen, I quietly took my seat and the professor didn’t say a word about it. This however comes up in other more damaging ways, to give an example of this, if I miss an appointment or I don’t text someone in a time frame which I deem acceptable, I begin to stress out and seclude myself, which always results in me attempting to make up for the appointment or text I missed much later than is acceptable.
For instance, this semester I was taking an incredibly easy class, but I began missing days habitually, and I was so afraid of coming in and explaining why I missed, I simply began missing more and more days, despite keeping up with the reading assignments. I don’t think I’m going to pass that class, despite knowing the material backwards and forwards, which is my own fault, I let myself get in my own way, which happens to me entirely too often. Then again, I feel as though many people feel the same way, they let themselves get in the way of their own success, and to that end my mission statement finds itself based entirely in self-reliance, and self-actualization. When the only person we can often rely on to succeed is ourselves, it is unacceptable to let ourselves down.
Self-reliance then, is the ability to rely on one’s self to accomplish goals and push boundaries, these two components are crucial to self-actualization, since without them we remain stagnant, never growing as people. To this end, in order to be successful one must be self-interested—to an extent, in that the self is often the only one we can rely on. One cannot hope to be successful or impact the world in any meaningful way without the ability to rely on one’s self. In order to become self-reliant, I must go through several steps
- Recognize own cognitive behaviors—is the way I’m thinking or behaving hindering me or helping me
- Correct behaviors—If the way that I’m thinking or behaving is in fact hindering me, I need to make an effort to correct this
- Cultivate new habits—practice is key when it comes to making changes.
However, one cannot be reliant only on the self, everyone needs a support group, me especially. That being said, we must surround ourselves with people who aim to lift us up and support us on our journey toward self-reliance, rather than dragging us down.
Next comes the concept of work, I want nothing more than to do work that I can be proud of. I value thoughtful and intelligent work that has meaning to the creator, when it comes to writerly professions. As much as a paycheck helps keep the lights on, I never want to be the kind of person who would sacrifice integrity for money. To that end, the kind of work that I aim to do, and the works that I aim to create must be creatively fulfilling and personally meaningful, if I am doing work that has no greater meaning, then there is legitimately no point in doing it.
Despite having some trouble claiming my identity as a writer and wearing it with pride, I now think that I am ready to do so, and if I’m not, I need to work towards being able to. For the time being however, I am confident enough to say that I am a writer, and a damn good one at that. I wasn’t always ready to wear this title, however, it took time to grow into, mostly because of my anxieties related to the concept of failure. To say that I’ve had critics is somewhat of an understatement, but I’ve learned to take criticism, both fair and unfair alike into consideration, and used them in order to become a stronger writer. I’ve also learned that you cannot please everyone, which was incredibly difficult for me to process, as I have a pathological need for everyone to like me, this however is an impossible goal.
Essentially the point I’m making here is that in order to become a stronger writer I must be willing to accept both failure and criticism, which will never be easy, however it is an important part of the process of self-actualization and reliance. The only person that can let other people get to us negatively is ourselves, so that being said, if we do not allow other people to bring us down, and we continue to work for ourselves, and consistently produce respectable work, nothing can get in our way, as long as we don’t get in our own way.
I am a strong writer, I’ve known this since high school, however I did not always have this strength. Early on in my writing career I had trouble putting together decent pieces of work, however with dedication I found myself improving my craft, but specifically my strongest tool when it comes to writing has always been my voice. Many times I’ve been complimented by my teachers on my ability to translate my voice into paper, and to let this talent go to waste would be the absolute worst thing I could do to myself. I cannot think of a single worse thing I could do to get in the way of my own success than to let my abilities as a writer go to waste, or grow stagnant and not improve. I however am incredibly guilty of doing this, recently the only times I’ve written anything have been for classes, I can’t remember the last time I wrote something for myself or for the pure enjoyment of writing. I’m a writer, and if I’m going to wear that title with pride, and make something of myself using my natural and hard earned strength as a writer, I need to write for myself and write often. In order to facilitate this, from now on I will be following this self-prescribed guidelines for how to live as a writer:
- Write daily, it doesn’t matter what you’re writing as long as you’re writing something
- Keep a journal, do not let ideas slip through the cracks
- Have fun with it, this is what you love to do, do not let it become a chore
- Read more, you won’t grow as a writer unless you’re reading works from those you admire
In following these three simple rules for how to be a writer, I will be able to rely on myself and increase my abilities as a professional writer.
In short, in order in order to become successful, one must be self-reliant, without the ability to rely on one’s self, one can never hope to become successful in their chosen profession, mine being writing creatively. In the past I have not been able to rely on myself, but with this mission statement, I aim to be able to rely on myself consistently to ensure success in my academic and writerly endeavors