* This article is originally published on Democrat & Chronicle.
I am not into sports of any kind. But I watch the Olympic Games occasionally, for two reasons:
Since I will need much more space to talk about handsome men, let’s focus on top performers for now.
I’ve heard some “I want to do XXX” conversations ending with a “but”. People go through a laundry list of things that could go wrong, and concluded that it’d never work.
Imagine if Olympic athletes had said “I really want to compete in the Olympic Games, but there are so many great, talented players, I’ll never win.”
Sixty years ago, we thought it was impossible to break the 4-minute mile, but now we have the 1-mile world record of 3:43:13 by Hicham El Guerrouj.
It seems that 90% of our barriers to success come from our head. Not only do we let them run the show, but we encourage them to take over.
I’ve always wanted to see the world outside China. When I was in high school, my plan was to move to Hong Kong one day. And the one way I could make it happen was to apply for college there.
But as soon as I had that thought my mind went crazy, “The competition is unbelievable, I can’t speak English, I will never get in, it’s too expensive to apply...”
Guess what? I never went to college there. The saddest part, I never even sent out an application.
I told myself that there wasn’t much I could do, so I gave up.
When I went to college, two of my professors had lived abroad for several years (one in UK and one in Australia). They both talked about how valuable that experience was, so once again I decided that I would go see the world outside China one day.
It was like my life depended on it (I still don’t understand why but I am glad it was such).
I won’t bore you with the details, but after 2 gallons of tears and hundreds of times thinking “Screw it, I can’t do this...”, here I am!
A girl I know from my high school told everyone that she was going to apply for grad school abroad around the same time as me. Last time I checked, she’s exactly where she was 8 years ago, never got out of her hometown.
All I thought was “That could have been me”, but I am glad I made the leap.
You probably have a similar story.
The moral? We are our own worst enemy.
But, barriers are not necessarily bad.