Believe in yourself

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Believe in yourself

Dear Madam,

I am in the first year of BSc.  I’ve had this large-scale project on my mind for quite sometime now. I even wanted to patent it. My parents and my aunt think that I am too young to think of patents and want me to concentrate on my priorities — studying and passing my degree. But I am passionate about this project and I want to make it a success by patenting it.  I’m really confused. Does it have to be, that I can start thinking of major projects only once I get a PhD?
Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
I commend you on your passion and enthusiasm, and, more importantly, your belief in yourself. No, you don’t have to start thinking of major projects only after you get a PhD. I think you should find yourself a mentor who believes in you and your ideas and who will help you do what you are trying to do. The best way to know if your idea has merit is to bounce it off people with relevant experience and get their feedback on it.

Your family may not be having experience in that area, and also, may not be having experience with risk taking. They may be used to playing safe bets, and may be viewing your idea as a risk. They may be wanting to protect you from failure.

Then, in their mind, you would have lost out time on your degree as well and not gained anything. My advice to you is that if you believe in your idea, then go with it. If you fail, it will just be a learning process and a stepping stone to your next big idea. You would still have learnt a lot in the process. And your most important learning may be to take failure in its stride.

Unless you try, you will never know, and most of the time, the difference between achieving success and failure, lies in the passion of the person driving the cause. Good luck!

Dear Madam,
I cannot concentrate on my studies. I am constantly distracted by voices in my head. My mind begins to wander and I find myself thinking about movies or chatting with friends. I am in Class 12 and I am worried about my performance. My parents and teachers have pinned a lot of hope on me. Please help.
X

Dear X,
There are several things that you have mentioned in your letter which could be contributing to the confusion and difficulty you are facing.

I suggest you get the help of a psychiatrist to see if these inner voices are just a temporary distracting phenomena, or are of a more permanent nature. In which case you will need to understand how to tame them.

You also talk about having an inferiority complex, being confused, and feeling pressured to live up to the hopes of your parents and teachers. You also feel a little helpless and don’t know how to manage the many conflicting emotions that you are facing. I have often written on this subject in this column and would urge you to read some of my articles on the subjects:
*See a lion in the mirror (http://personalorbitchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/see-lion-in-mirror.html);
*It’s not the end of the road (http://personalorbitchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/its-not-end-of-road.html);
*How balanced are your see-saws (http://personalorbitchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-balanced-are-your-se...)

These address some of the issues that you have raised. I’d like you to think about your situation where you started believing that you are inferior, that your side of the seesaw is lower while the other side is higher.  You must realise that everyone has some faults, and weakness, just like their strengths. Recognising and acknowledging our strengths, while accepting and working on our weaknesses, is the biggest service we can do to ourselves. And, living up to our own expectations, rather than those of others, should be our biggest motivator.

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