Three Destructive Things school taught you

Kevin Chang/Flickr

Kevin Chang/Flickr

The article below rings so true – I had the same experience…  but unlike its author Mark Manson – I didn’t overcome these limiting beliefs until recently.
For one of my final year English exams, the creative writing portion (which I usually exceeded at) was to write a story created from the sentence provided.  The sentence was something about discovering a box.  I took the sentence and turned it into a semi autobiographical metaphor – writing a story about a teenage girl who felt full with other’s expectations and decides to explore the mental boxes that are created for us and by us,  that limit our world and our experiences…   I was proud of the piece, and out of all my exams prior to receiving my mark – I made a special application for notes and feedback,  naïvely thinking I would get some kudos and positive pointers (from someone who knew what they were talking about and wasn’t just nice like my teachers) – for taking a chance and literally thinking outside the box.
I got a low mark (well low for me – 58%) and told that I didn’t answer the question and wasn’t on point.   Umm – but its creative writing??!!  I guess the marker couldn’t step outside their own box to see the irony.  The thing was – I was already so torn between the deep desire to be a writer and yet terrified at the same time – for all the reasons mentioned in the article below.
1.   Fear of not succeeding – with ‘success’ being dependent and determined by other people’s measurements.
2.   Fear of failing – which I considered shameful instead of knowledge gaining and growth inducing.
3.   Not getting approval from ‘authority’ – because the school system had trained us all to believe there was no one else I should trust to tell me I was doing well.
These were the markers of success. I had no deep belief or trust in myself or those who encouraged me – I felt they were merely being nice.  Despite my anger at the poor mark – and vowing not to let it affect me… it did.  Spurned on by the well meaning traditional thinking around me (that I deplored but was too afraid to properly rebel against) that being a writer was not ‘a real job’…  I kept my writing secret and low key and tried to have a ‘professional career’ in finance which was doomed from the start, because nothing about it excited me in the least. I started a book at eighteen and abandoned it half way through. I wrote and finished another at 28 and after unsuccessfully trying to sell it – and despite a fairly successful blog…. abandoned writing again.  Then I started my third book… and chronic illness got in the way.
I’m getting slowly back on track now – but I’m only just seeing that one of the real reasons for the intermittent commitment to something I love so much, was that I wasn’t able to break through conditioning and limiting beliefs I hated but could not let go of – until now.   Now I can write to please me.  I decide if its worth sharing.  I decide if I like it.   And I can therefore decide if its successful.  And my idea of success now looks like helping people.  Making them smile when they read my stories.   I have a children’s series in the pipeline that will take a while yet,  but it will hopefully share lessons like these.
Because you don’t want to wait half your life to realise that your belief system is holding you back from sharing some special stuff with the world and bringing you joy … just because someone else gave you some unhelpful ideas and called them ‘truth’ when you lacked to tools and knowledge to question it.
For all of us it is never to late to start wondering if the reason you have an unfulfilled goal or sense that you missed out on something that could make you happy is down to to these ‘success markers’ – and if so, perhaps its time you thought about letting going of them?

Wishing you love and wellness….

Désirée

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