When I was doing my A levels I was having a problem understanding what my teacher was trying to teach. After about the third time saying that I was still unclear he blurted, “If you can’t understand it, you’re stupid!”
After that, I turned off that class.
I got a ‘D’ in that subject. He went on teaching for the rest of his life.
I chose at the time to allow that statement to define my actions, and only ended up hurting myself. I could have chosen differently and done much better. Instead, I relegated myself to something less than what I was.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was suffering from a fixed mindset. I defined myself by my “smartness” which made me fragile and thus made my ego easily fractured.
This affected me for many years afterwards, through my university studies, and early job opportunities. In my ignorance and pride, did what I could to protect my fragile ego.
“I could have done well in the exam had I more time to study.”
“I could have done better in the project had I gotten more guidance from the supervisor.”
Procrastination became the armour and shield that I would wield. After all, my being was at stake.
After many years in the darkness, I would eventually come to realise the reasons for my actions and the choices I’ve been making. And I would start doing the things to correct it.
I’d let go of the ego and just be.
I’d find myself back at that place time and time again. And each time, I’d let go and just be.
But these days it’s been difficult to leave that place. I feel like I need to protect myself.
I remind myself that I’ve been here before. I overcame then, I will overcome again.
And I can do so only by letting go of my pride and ego. But I must choose to do so.