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'Gain perspective, the biggest thing in life'


- By Avneet Kaur

I am from a middle-class family, facing regular socio-economic issues almost every girl in such families goes through. Back in school days I was a very shy person, and hence didn’t have many friends. Also, there was always this pressure to match a certain status quo, be it about looking good or other such intricacies. I think I have been through a good share of mental breakdowns, verbal hostility, disappointments, physical anguish, and natural hopelessness. I won't be boring you with stories of such anguish, but all this has definitely been a part of my story.

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Throughout my journey, I was very clear of one thing, that your perspective towards life matters more than anything else. Now, my next step was to find a perspective. Being a girl meant there were other difficulties, social and familial. Frankly, I was scared to take a stand for myself. It is not that I did not make attempts, but every time I did, it would backfire in such a manner that it would appear rude and disrespectful.

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I was always eager to learn more from anyone regardless of their profession. Having faced challenges from a younger age, it was very clear that nothing can replace your knowledge and experience. Hence, I am an all-time learner. Every incident in our life is a silent mentor of ours. People, relationships, connections, things, incidents, all of these guide you. I don't know if I would be able to inspire you or this will just be a 'been there, done that, nothing works' for you.

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Through my journey, I have gathered a few bits and pieces about people, poetry, art, experiences and other things. Below I am sharing a few with you.

  • Build yourself from the inside- courage to stand up and speak up for oneself
  • Liberate yourself from your thoughts, don't give power to all your thoughts. Sadhguru (thoughts have the power to make you or break you)
  • The size of your heart and strength of your character (if you are definitive of who you are, the foundation becomes way stronger)
  • Treat everyone as your mentor
  • Invest your energy very wisely (where you invest energy, you invest life in it)
  • Love, compassion and empathy - Medicine, law, business, etc are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty and love are what we live for! - Dead Poets Society
  • It is okay to get confused. Moreover, use it as your tool to reach the desired goal.
  • Always keep challenging yourself.
  • You always have a choice. (Harvey Specter)
  • Success is arbitrary, confidence is everything. (Gina Linetti)
  • Friends and family can only help you to an extent. there is nothing wrong to reach out for professional help.
  • Don't be dependent on external sources for positive emotions. Find happiness and contentment within yourself; let nothing break you, not even you.
  • Your feelings result from what you give yourself. No matter how bad your life can seem, you can always make me worse. (Mel Robins)
  • Make yourself a better place to live for yourself. Entities around you leave, change or may break but rooting for yourself and growing from within doesn't give you the need to look out for any validation or recognition.
  • Communication is the key. Express, as suppression has never yield anything. Your expression can be in any form that truly reflects you: art, dance, or anything like that.
  • Don't try to fit in, be yourself. (heard a lot? why not try to be authentic to our thoughts and self always)
  • It's the landing that makes you die not the fall (Jim Moriarty) . Old methods never gave new results, let us make ourselves better, make the landing better, keep on improving with every fall we receive.
  • Never let potential get sabotaged due to fear of loss (better decision making in life comes when we free ourselves from the fear of loss and ride in the boat of risk having faith in ourselves and our potential)./li>
  • You have to choose your passion (you can't find your passion in an oyster waiting for you, all we need to do is TRY, try wholeheartedly do not allow yourself to quit so easily!)- Katie Steckly
  • Balance. To make light is to make a shadow, one cannot exist without the other- Carl Jung (sometimes things get way too difficult to decipher, it is very important to find a middle ground to figure a balance between things and keep yourself in composure).
  • Perspective matters more than finding a solution!
  • As the experience itself is the best learning, let us use this tool to explore and widen our capabilities!

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Between school and family (parents to be precise) who do you think plays a more important role in identifying the strengths and weaknesses in a child?

According to me both parents and school play important roles in identifying a child's strengths and weaknesses. For a child capabilities can be built and identified starting from basic personal activities to the aspect of being involved in a team. It is very important that a parent or a teacher acknowledges and accepts a child's weakness, and make him/her progress in such a way that he/she tends to improve on the short comings.

Tell us three important changes that need to be implemented in our Education System in order to produce more skilled students?

Practical life skills, emotional intelligence and social conduct. Practical life skills are important as they help a person to be less dependent on others and to take a stand in his/her opinion. Emotional intelligence helps a student to manage themselves as well as others around them. A certain level of EI helps to solve problems, communicate effectively and develop relationships. Due to the increasing crimes in the city students must be well aware of the basic social conduct norms and the consequences of any oddity.

Do you think Literary knowledge is essential for every student, regardless of the stream of education he/she is into? If yes, what is your view about the present scenario among students?

Literary knowledge is important in school for the students to develop a perspective of the universal human experience. No doubt that practical knowledge of science or any other stream is equally important. But adding a relevant literature course that engages students furthermore can help them connect to universal themes of love, justice, art, etc. In today's scenario literature is just considered as a notch under other subjects specially for the non-humanities field. The education curriculum has made students focus so much on the core subjects that it has ended up diminishing the connect between larger truths and ideas. There after a student is just left with a constrained amount of knowledge with no connect with the humanity or outside world.

What are the gender based struggles you have faced to establish your career?

More than a measure of my potential, my gender has pulled me back from achieving any optimal goal in my career. I wasn't allowed to play further than district level athletics, i was denied to get into a course outside my own city, even after getting a scholarship for an exchange student program i wasn't allowed to take that opportunity abroad, and many more such instances. I do not blame my parents for not allowing me because after a point of time i realised that from their point of view their concern is valid. But i just couldn't let their fear sabotage my career, so i put my fingers in all pots wherever I saw the slightest of opportunities, tried and explored each and every field that helped me develop my career to what it is now.

You mentioned that every happening in your life was regarded as a ‘Mentor’. However, who is that one inspirational leader you have and why?

My dad mentioned that very line once, that every happening will teach you something and when it does all you are required to do, is learn from it! That is how life teaches you. My mentor for life, as mentioned by my inspirational leader would be my father. Even though we do not share a very 'expressive' bond but there is a lot that I've learned from him throughout the course of my life till date. My father is a total package, shrubbing off all the societal norms - he is truly like a second mother(yeah!). Starting from cooking, packing lunch, managing all home chores, he is the person who taught me the importance of showing respect towards all human beings, and many other things. My dad manages his work and personal life with with such a great balance that in this 22 years I've never seen him taking his work stress out on me or my sibling. All the basic human ethics like respecting others, learning the importance of a family, trusting the course of life and the inhibition of patience, all of this have made me a much better person. With all due respect I can proudly say that he has always been an inspiration for me!

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