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Take it with a Grain of Salt

Take it with a Grain of Salt

“I needed to be strong like a palm tree swaying with the wind in order to be open to new points of view; I knew I needed to always return to my standing point in order to reach the height I need to grow to.”

        Throughout my whole life with everything that I do, everything that I say, and every decision I make, someone has tried to instruct me on how I can better live my life. Everyone has a formula to succeed. There are two types of people who try to guide me to success. Some of them are people who have already reached their idea of success, and they are trying to make me follow the same path they did; there are some who haven’t succeeded, and are trying to make me take their ideal path to success. One thing I’ve realized about success is that everyone has their own idea of it, and I needed to be able to follow my heart, but still be capable of taking in all the knowledge that was given to me with a grain of salt.

        I guess one of my biggest life lessons I had to learn is learning who to trust and who not to trust. I am fortunate enough to have many mentors that I can trust to look to for advice now, but I used to be a blindly obedient child looking for guidance through anyone who has something to say. When I was too obedient, even if what I was instructed to do or advised to do had positive outcomes, I became stressed, frustrated, and irritable because these decisions weren’t what my heart wanted to follow. At one point, I wanted to follow these instructions because a part of me knew it was the easy out, but a part of me also knew that I had to go through my own experiences to be satisfied with the outcome. I would have phases of rebellion where I would go out of my way to do the exact opposite of everything that I was told to do. I needed balance. I had to learn how to differentiate between those who were giving me genuine advice and wanted to see me succeed from those who gave me genuine advice to stick by the book because that is what they ended up doing themselves. Most of all, I had to train and strengthen my mind to be laser focused on my goal but still be able to absorb all the information around me and be confident in my decisions. I needed to be strong like a palm tree swaying with the wind in order to be open to new points of view; I knew I needed to always return to my standing point in order to reach the height I need to grow to.

        I could have never fathomed how much mental strength it takes for one individual to chase their passion. I understand why those who come out on the other side are worshiped for their courage now. It truly takes all the strength in the world to go against everything that you are taught the moment you are born; it takes all the fiber in your body to go against the structure of society and chase after what you love. It’s a constant battle of “What if?”

“What if I don’t follow what I am told closely enough, and I miss out on these opportunities?”

“What if all these things are going against me because I really am not good enough?”

        The “what if” that struck me the hardest was, “What if I can do it?” I shoved that to the back of my mind for so long bouncing from one college major to another. While I was battling this inner turmoil walking on the paved yellow brick road, like so many who’ve done so before me, I became drained and lifeless. Every time I felt like dying, all I knew for certain was that art was my savior. The only reason I am still alive was because of those little moments when I chose to stray away from that same yellow brick road. That’s when it really hit me, “What if I can do it? How will I ever know if I don’t go for it 110%?” All of this time, I was making excuses and tallying points for why I should not chase my dreams. Every time around, there we more tally points for why I shouldn’t chase my dreams, but each time around, the mere regret of not giving it my all always came out on top.

        Overlooking my entire 21 years young of being alive, Tony Gaskin Jr’s famous quote, “If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs,” has never been more true. I always believed that you attract the energy you give off into the world. When I was uncertain what energy I was giving off, I attracted people who preyed on me because they knew I was indecisive enough for them to take advantage of. I’ve come to the realization that not living my life the way I wanted it is like me bleeding in shark infested waters. It’s like they can smell the blood dripping from my pain, and that attracted them even more to force their way of living on to me. Me not aggressively going for what I want has attracted those who want to mold me into the essence of what they would want if they lived their life under different circumstances.

        Only when I confidently chased after my goals, I started to attract those who really wanted to help me. Why? Confidence is attractive. I realized that you have to believe in yourself and see your mission as important before anyone else does. It’s not their mission after all, so no one will ever be as passionate about it as you are. It is not your mission that will attract the right people; it is your passion and drive. Those who have been through it and are capable of helping know that you can not help someone who can not help themselves. Those who are indecisive will not know which advice to take and from whom they should take it from because they are still uncertain of their path. It is useless giving advice to a wall. I was only able to filter out all the unnecessary advice and all the unnecessary people in my life when I knew the exact path I wanted to take. Only then was I able to take everything in with a grain of salt without overwhelming myself.

        No one has the formula to your success. Heck, I don’t even have the formula to my own success; all I know is that things only started falling into place once I started to follow my heart. So as you follow me on my journey, I won’t give you any instructions on how you should live your life. Hopefully reading about my trials and tribulations and how I internalize them will give you insights on your own. Do let me give you a few important things to remember though:

#1 Follow your heart and trust your journey no matter how difficult it gets, and everything will fall into place.

#2 You attract what you give off.

#3 100% of the people who succeed are the ones who never gives up

#4 Everyone’s journey is different so no one’s specific advice will ever apply to you and your situation, but learn how to filter out the unnecessary parts and take in the important ones.

#5 Take everything in with a grain of salt.

I hope that when you see the fire in my eyes, it rubs off on you and makes you want to work even harder towards your goal.

Be kind, work hard, be patient, and everything will fall together eventually. Until next time!

-Mai Vee Vang

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