Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Audacity to Do

I wanted to highlight an essay about achievement written by a girl who used to go to my school. Without further ado (since I'm already a day late):

"The Audacity to Do" - by A. U.
Those who are successful in life are those who have the audacity to do; those who have the audacity to believe in themselves.

Take, for example, my Journalism class who was, to my surprise, worried about me graduating. "How are we going to run the website without you?" they asked. "What are you talking about?" I told them. I don't know how to run a website! I don't know the first thing about websites. I spent two months in the back of the class reading Wiki-How articles and pushing buttons on WordPress until I finally rolled out a patchwork website of sorts for the paper--Which I have managed to crash a whopping six times throughout my short tenure as web-editor. You're welcome.
I need to go about systematically acquiring useful skills. Last year I actively added Python to my mental toolbox, but I haven't been doing the same thing this year with anything. Hm. Change this. Read more nonfic.

As I told my protege webmaster, "I have no idea what I'm doing. Don't question it, just scroll through pages clicking buttons until it works." (This somehow won us a Peninsula Press Club award for best online newspaper content.) I mean, there was never a doubt in my mind I could put up a website, if I just kept chugging through it. And there is still not a doubt in my mind the newspaper staff will miss me for two days and then wonder what they ever needed me for--if they just don't question it and keep clicking buttons.
I wish I had that kind of confidence--that I am capable of doing anything as long as I set my mind to it. However I am convinced that someday there's going to be something I won't be able to do, no matter how hard I work.

Another observation: I don't miss any of last year's seniors anymore. Not even my hero. Si tira avanti, eh?

for me, and for many other seniors, in the aftermath of reading that acceptance letter you are suddenly struck with a horrible epiphany: my acceptance to University was a mistake.

Because there is no way--as I repeated to my panicked self all throughout Admit Weekend as they detailed the accomplishments of the admitted class--that I deserve to go to a school filled with such ridiculously intelligent people. I haven't done anything that amazing.
I'm hoping that I get into a good enough university that I feel this way instead of being able arrogantly to assume that I'm one of the top students. Well. We'll see how this one pans out.

And I think that's the point: no one has done anything that amazing, really. Most likely you'll look back on the things you've done or said--whether it be three days or three years later--and cringe to yourself and think "Oh, god, why did I think that was a good idea?"

It is not we should minimize the achievements of our past, but rather realize that we are in a constant state of doing something amazing. At this very moment we are living and breathing and thinking and learning and doing; and maybe in the future we will look back on that and chuckle at the comparison with all you know now.
I know, objectively, that I've done some cool things in high school, but I don't think I've done anything amazing. But why should my perception of that matter?

As Marcus says, the best thing to do at any given moment is to focus on what you are doing and do it better. I don't actually agree with this entirely, since sometimes you have to look up and make sure that it's still right to do what you're doing, to get the big picture. But the main point of what I got out of this post was that sometimes, looking at the big picture psychs you out. Just trust that you can do whatever it is that you're doing and keep going.

Or as AU herself says:

...there is only one way to ever learn or achieve anything.

Don’t question it; just keep clicking buttons.


Note: the link is to a cached page since it looks as though the original essay has been removed. It used to live here.

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