Thursday, April 19, 2012

Disconnection Leads to Connection

Hello! Been a while since I've been on here, or even on social media. Needed to figure some things out, and the results have been anything but disappointing. Let me start from the beginning.

Last week, I became aware that I was spending far too much time online, looking at blog stats, looking at Facebook, Twitter, going to the Astral Tide forums; basically all forms of social media was clouding me from the real world around me. So I disconnected.

What did I discover?

First, how much more time I had in the day. I knew I was spending too much time online, but this really made me realize exactly how much. In addition, it also made me realize I had a bit of an addiction going on (which is stupid) with Facebook and Twitter. I had to fight the urge to go online and see what others were doing. However, once those days passed, I began to focus on me and what I was doing, which was mostly getting as much homework done as possible. But backtrack to day two of my disconnection, I came across a speech on YouTube that Arnold Schwarzenegger gave to USC graduates called "The Six Rules of Success". They are listed as stated (also paraphrased from the forty minute speech).

1. Trust Yourself
What is most important about this rule is digging deep inside yourself and realizing who you want to be. Not what, but who.

2. Break the Rules
There are rules about everything in life, so many that apply to so many aspects. It's impossible to be a true original or maverick if you don't break the rules. Be the first to do something that hasn't been done before.

3. Don't be Afraid to Fail
You can't always win but don't let fear of failure prevent you from making decisions, or you will never push yourself. You push yourself because you trust yourself and your vision, and you know success will come. You have to be willing to fail if you ever expect to grow.

4. Don't Listen to the Nay-Sayers
Never listen to anyone that says you can't do this, or you can't do that. This goes with being a true original, being the first to do something that hasn't been done before. Never listen to 'you can't', always listen to yourself 'yes, you can.'

5. Work Your Ass Off
There is no way around hard, hard, work. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having fun. But remember when you're out there partying, horsing around, or whatever it is you're doing, someone out there is working hard, getting smarter, and winning. None of these rules of success will work unless YOU do.

6. Give Something Back
Whether it is to your community, state, or country, find a way to help others in need. Tear down that mirror you look into everyday, and see there are others in need. It will give your more satisfaction than anything you've ever done.

What hit me the most immediately was rule number three. I listened to that part of the speech over and over and over. I even took out a piece of paper and wrote down the six rules and pinned it up beside my bed so I could look the rules over before I go to sleep at night. As the days passed, I kept the rules in my head, and the other that started to sink in was TRUST YOURSELF.

The beauty of this is that in being disconnected from social media, I had cut off the distractions and simply enjoyed the true beauty of life and enjoyed true silence. Because when you listen to the quiet, you can hear your inner most desires speaking to you, whether you think they are or not.

This past Tuesday, I woke up feeling rather gloomy, even slightly depressed. Another day of doing the same old shit. I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and was about to take a shower when I peered out the family room window and felt a realization wash over me. I'm bored. And not just a little bored, really, really, bored. I had been bored since I graduated high school in 2007. Then I thought: Who do I want to be?

I want to be someone who challenges himself, someone who goes outside his comfort zone, someone who strives for greatness, someone who is unbiased, open, and logical, someone who travels. I want to leave the tiny, stagnant town I live in. And finally, I want to be more than just an author. I want to get involved in acting, voice acting, directing, play writing, screen writing. I want to get involved in music. I want to be a dancer.

After this realization, I looked through USI's degree programs. At the time, I was signed up as an English major. But when I looked through the University's Theater Arts program, I knew what I wanted to do, I switched my major and made my minor Creative Writing. I plan to take some technical, government, rhetoric, and even poetry writing classes to expand my writing skills.

This all came from my realization that through the first twenty-three years of my life, I've never truly challenged myself. I'm tired of being bored. It's time to see what I'm made of. But with this massive shift in mindset, came the fear that this might not work. Even my mother was apprehensive about what I was doing. And she had reason to, I had never been involved with plays in high school, or even middle school, and those in grade school, well, how can one really act when they're afraid to express themselves at a base level? Yeah, I was afraid. But I thought: I don't want to do anything else. Do I want to major in English? Yes, but only because it's what I'm comfortable and familiar with. I have a deeper, more personal desire to be involved in theater, the possibilities from that interest me so much more than anything English could offer. Then I thought: why am I afraid? I'm going to do this anyway, so I might as well get over it. And it was like something clicked. If I failed, or found I didn't like theater, I can change my direction, but better to have tried and failed than never try at all.

The future is bright, and I think for the first time in my life, I'm moving forward without fear to hold me back. Fear, it's all the same, and it hinders.

These rules have changed my life. Schwarzenegger has made mistakes, but who hasn't? He's still an extremely successful individual and a self-made man. I will go on in life with this rules in mind, reciting them everyday, and studying them every night. I hope USI is ready for me, because I'm going to light it up!

I hope the rules help you as much as they did me!


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