Sunday, 19 January 2014

Breaking a reality

From an early age we slowly learn to discern what we see as right or wrong.  Upon self-reflection, it is our belief systems which are founded by culture, surroundings and figures of authority, which shape our identity.

I find these ideas are built and reinforced over the entirety of our lives, and the cheerless reality is that for many of us living in this cruxed society, underlying limiting beliefs can plague our mind and poisonous thoughts of self-doubt and helplessness may seed and grow over time. Like a compass, we all have some sort of centring in life, may it be our need for social validation or aspirations in career.

However once you recognise that some of the deeply held “truths” are shockingly false, then it would be the first step towards clearing the debris in your mind and rebuilding from a clean slate. Questioning why you believe what you believe, and then standing aside as you watch your peers dismantle it has been one of the most cathartic experiences in recent memory. Then comes the challenge: breaking apart years of self-conditioning and separating yourself from the identity you’ve always seen yourself as.

I am writing this article three days after of one of the most memorable weeks of my life. Coming out of the cold through the 2014 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards has challenged (with frightening severity) areas of discontentment and lethargy that I had always neglected. From a lack of awareness in issues of equity, to self-doubt and extreme shyness, to cultural perspectives on race and leadership, I was forced to put my beliefs into question.

For the past week, myself and eighty other young people, recognised for some facet of community service, gathered together. Junior Police officers, radio broadcasters, public servants and youth workers slept and ate together in cabins. We were put through a series of gruelling exercises which tested our creativity and ability to handle pressure from crisis to crisis. Without breaking the non-disclosure agreement, we learned that many of the speakers had started out with so much less than what I’ve taken for granted, and achieved far, far greater. Limiting beliefs were put in the spotlight and my convictions were objectively revealed to be weak. Speaker after speaker, case after case with barely a wink’s rest, the information overload felt too much opposed to what our realities were. But you simply must accept it. 

As a final point of reference, I find objectivity to be the snowball that starts growth. 

See your relationship with your friends and family from an unbiased point of view. Without the amazing times you’ve shared, camping under a roof or fighting over games. See your parents as to who they are and the worth that they truly mean to you. See yourself in your constructed reality with a hammer ready in your palm. Find peers who are not afraid to challenge and attack your beliefs on a pedestal. And welcome the bricks that you will inevitably find, to use, to rebuild on a clean slate.

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