WORDS | Janson Lim
It isn’t everyday you can say with conviction that you’ve welcomed with joy a series of bricks being thrown at your constructed beliefs, and see your creations reduced to rubble.
From a young age, we slowly learn to discern what we see as right or wrong. Upon self-reflection, it is our belief systems that are founded by culture, surroundings and figures of authority that shape our identity.
I find these ideas are built and reinforced over the entirety of our lives. The cheerless reality is that, for many of us living in this society, underlying restrictive beliefs can plague our mind. Poisonous thoughts of self-doubt and helplessness may seed and grow over time. Like a compass, we all have some sort of balancing to do in life. It may be our need for social validation, or aspirations in career.
Once you recognise that some of the deeply held ‘truths’ are shockingly false, then you’ve taken 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 claimed.
I am writing this article three days after 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, 80 other young people, including myself, were gathered together to be recognised for some contribution to community service. Junior police officers, radio broadcasters, public servants, and youth workers, slept and ate together in cabins. We were put through a series of gruelling tasks which tested our creativity and our 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 opposition to our realities; 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; the amazing times you’ve shared, camping under a roof, or fighting over games. See your parents as who they are and the worth that they truly hold for 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, nor put them on a pedestal.
Welcome the bricks that you will inevitably find that you can use to rebuild with a clean slate.
For more articles by Janson Lim visit cashlessnation.blogspot.com.au