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Dear Madam,

I am a student in Global Academy Of Technology. I am currently doing my 5th semester in electronics and communication. I keep thinking of what I should do after I finish my engineering. When I ask my seniors, they tell me to take up something that I am good at and have a flair for. My problem is that I don't really know what I am really good at. I don't know if it is really a failure on my part to not realize what I am good at.

Please tell me how I can know in what subject or area I am good at. But I really want to be something different.As in, I don't want to just get into a job and start earning 25k and be happy. Rather, I want to do something unique. May be like being a CEO or the manager of a company or may be going to NASA. I have been an excellent student throughout and have been a rank student in all classes by the grace of God. So, I believe I have the potential but I just don't know how to take it to the next level. Please help me to know how I have to go about to do it.
Aahana Chandran

Dear Aahana

It is nice to hear from someone who recognizes that they have potential and wants to achieve it. One way of finding out what you have a flair for is to really ask yourself what you enjoy doing. What subject interests you and arouses your curiosity the most. This need not necessarily the one in which you get the most marks.

Another way is to talk to people in various fields and understand what each field entails. And then analyse for yourself which field will play to your strengths and minimize the negative effect of your weakness. Of course, before you do this, you must know your strengths. So that may actually be a good place to begin. Do a SWOT analysis for yourself. List out your strengths, and weaknesses, and then find out which opportunities will play to your strengths, and which will be a threat because your weaknesses will have too much of an impact on them. You may possibly consider working with a personal coach or mentor for this.
And remember, any choice you make does not need to be final and fatal. If early on in your journey you make a wrong choice, you can always consider making a change rather than continuing in it endlessly for the rest of your working life. Even if this means the loss of some time, it is better to view it as a learning experience and move on. Often the finality of a choice is what scares us into not being able to make a decision.

One word of caution...being a CEO must not be an end in itself. A CEO of something you enjoy and something you have created is important. And, to reach the top of the ladder you will need to climb every step. Unfortunately there is no way of reaching the top of the ladder by taking a giant leap directly to the topmost step. So, focus on the journey, and enjoy it. That is the key.

Dear Madam,

No matter how hard I try, I can’t understand Math. I was good at Math till the 10th. But now in 11th I find it difficult (out of 4 tests I passed in 2). I used to be a 90s student but now I have landed in the 50s. Nowadays I am not able to study . I feel so low. I have started losing faith in myself.  I have no true friends. Everyone talks behind my back. Dark circles around my eyes stop me from talking to others. Still I try to talk to them. People comment on each and every thing. I have long hair. I plait it every time. They have a problem with that too. They expect me to dress according to their wish.

My parents are upset with me. I feel very depressed. Looking at my marks my dad tells me that I won’t be able to  get into National Law School, Bangalore. This  makes me feel disgusted. I have no clue about what courses to take up after 12th.
All these years I have not been able to prove myself to be more intelligent and beautiful or popular than others. I am afraid I  will end up a loner. I am ashamed of myself in front of my parents. I have lost interest in life. I don’t have strength to bear this anymore. I feel like running away from life. What should I do to be a normal person? Please suggest some courses after 12th which you think I am capable of taking up as my career. A student

Dear Student

You seem to be struggling with many issues at the same time. At the root of all of them, I think, is low self esteem which is making you feel low, inferior, incapable, confused and depressed. You need to recognize your strengths, and gain strength from that knowledge. You also need to know your weaknesses, and accept them as a part of you, since no one is perfect. With this knowledge and acceptance you gain the power to go forth in the world and face whatever challenges come your way. You say you have lost faith in yourself, and to me that is the central issue.
Maths is a great subject and you seem to have been able to enjoy it till recently. You now seem to have developed a mental block about it, possibly arising from this same feeling of being incapable. Maths is all about practise and clear thinking. When your head and heart are all muddled up with confusing emotions, it is very easy to get lost in maths.

Others will always say things that you may not agree with, or that are hurtful, over which you have no choice or control. The important thing to remember is that how much importance you give to that is what you have control over, and is your choice. If you are accepting of yourself and believe in yourself, then others will be forced to mirror the same feelings. If you feel uncomfortable about yourself, people will give you the same messages.

You are a normal person. You just need to believe in yourself. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone other than yourself. You don’t need to be more intelligent, more popular and more beautiful than others. You just need to be intelligent (emotionally and intellectually) for yourself, to live the best life that is within your power. Life is about you and what you make of it. Everyone else needs to be merely the backdrop, not the key driver. I have written a lot about these issues in the past and my writings can be found on my blog personalorbitchange.blogspot.com .

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