Get Out!

Originally published on 7th January, 2016.

Like my good friend Ashish Silwal puts it, life’s all about trials and errors; mostly errors. What worked for me might not necessarily work for you. But the purpose of this blog is, like always, to make you think and ask you questions that only you can answer.

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Sam Levenson

5 years back, if you had told me that one of my biggest passions in life would be delivering presentations in front of different crowds, I would not have believed you. It’s true because I never knew there was a presenter in Sagar Satyal. Realizing it was one of the best things to have ever happened to me.

But how did it start? I’d say the transition happened because of only one reason- the willingness to get out.
What does that mean?

When I was in my undergrad, I always wanted to be something more than merely be a student who attends classes and comes back home. I knew that at the end of the day, grades would only be grades and that adding much needed soft skills would definitely pay off in the long run.

The drive to be a better version of my own self enchanted the ambition to try the much talked about skill in town-presentations. The exploration came as a result of meeting like-minded people in college and a mentor in Mr. Prashanta Manandhar who would put in the extra mile to help us get better. In him we found a person who was much more than just a teacher. In him, I found my presentation guru. So sometimes I ask myself; why is it that whilst majority of the students found a teacher and a friend (because of his friendly nature and attitude) in him, the slight minority of us found an inspiration that would go on to ignite a fire inside of us that would set us on our way?

I think the answer is pretty simple. Back in 2013, we were doing the CIMA Global Business Challenge and wanted some help. It appeared to us that this gentleman in particular (our Marketing Management faculty) had something about him. In strict economic terms, both the willingness and the ability to help us out with the case study. Since we live in an education setting where faculties usually are part-timers who come to college, take a class and leave for their own businesses, we were always going to be up against it. Still, we decided to give it a go and called him up to request for his time. In the course of doing so, we got to know each other better and from there, this drive for presentations gathered momentum.  From making loads of presentations after class hours, staying in the college till 11PM, critically analyzing TED videos to giving each other feedback, we’ve come a long way through the Presenters’ Club.
So what if we hadn’t reached out and approached him? What if we gave in to our doubts that he was just another faculty who wouldn’t have the willingness or the ability to help us with our mission?
I’m a big believer in the Theory of Interconnectedness: whereby one event leads to another and hence when you look back, it all makes sense. So I’m assuming that if we hadn’t mustered the courage to follow our gut feeling, the best things ahead would be elusive to us.

So here I want to ask you: Think of people in your network. Have you made the effort to find a deeper connection with them? Have you tried perceiving them more than what they appear to be?

Let’s take another example. For some reason, I had this feeling inside of me that I wanted to teach- to share what I know and learn more in the process of sharing. It would have been easy to postpone this gut feeling and let it subside but instead, I got out. I went around talking about my interest in becoming an educator. As a result, I got a fantastic opportunity to build my own content and curriculum to deliver Smart Class at my friend Ashish Silwal’s school. (Read my earlier post: In the Quest of Making a Difference). Another example- just a few weeks back I got a phone call from another friend whose parents are investing in a school. He wanted me to be in the advisory board of the school.

Did I have prior teaching experience? Am I an expert in education? The answer to both the questions is NO.  I truly believe that the only reason I got the calls was because I talk fondly about my interests wherever I go (in this context it happened to be education).
I also believe that the only reason Subhekchya approached me to take part in the GBC in the first place was because I used to talk so fondly about presentations.

So what interests you? Have you gone out and talked about what you like/want to do? Have you met like-minded people that can help you get where you want to be? If you have, have you tried building relations with them?

Once you do decide to get out, two things can happen. First thing is you may realize that you’re not really quite ready or qualified to do justice to the opportune moment. Based on my own experiences, I feel this is where growth happens; when you feel that little shiver down your spine, that hint of nervousness and doubt as to whether you can actually pull off what you’re set out to do. But you’ve got to do it before you realize whether you can or not. And that’s precisely my point- experience is everything! There’s absolutely no substitute for it. So when you take on a new challenge, you grow as a person. You may look back and realize how far you’ve come from the state of being an alien to a particular idea to actually being pretty good at it. Of course, not all experiences may go as expected and so the second thing that might happen is that you may fail at something or even feel that although you are succeeding, your heart is not really into it. In that case, at least you know what you thought you’d like isn’t really what you like. And trust me, this is a big realization. It’s better to have experienced and realized rather than to waste time living with an assumption that you’ll like it when you do it later.  And personally for me, there have been innumerable times when I’ve done this. The best part is, I’m already looking ahead to what’s coming rather than to look back and feel sad/unhappy that an experience in the past didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would.

Because did you know that you’re not a tree? That if you’re not happy with something, you don’t need to get stuck and can freely move from there? Did you know this already?

So to summarize, I would be happy if you really questioned hard as to what you like doing, then figure out the ways to be good at it. However, all the figuring out won’t be much help if you don’t actually go out and do it. You might love it or go on to hate it. Either way, you’ll know more about your own self and for me, that’s crucial in life. People who know me feel I have it all figured out but I’m also going out and doing the same- testing my own judgment and knowing myself better. Take blogging for example. I never knew there was a writer in me. I had just casually written an article How an Acer Aces. One of my friends suggested I put it up for the annual college magazine. Funnily, I won the best article and people suggested I cater to the needs of a wider audience and hence How an Acer Aces went on to become my first blog.

Just the other day, I came across Adhi who is doing his A levels but is already going out, looking for colleges in Nepal. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he was simply tracking down colleges in the States or Australia with the hunger to move abroad. But pleasantly, this guy has decided to stay back in Nepal and is hunting down potential suitors for his undergrad slated for August 2016. Talk about pro-activeness and getting out! In the course of getting out, he is sure to make new connections (he made me one of his new allies yesterday) and he’s sure to bump into different people which will lead him to different things I’m sure.

See, things start happening once you decide to go out and just do it! The key my friends, is to give it your all. It breaks my heart to see a lot of young guns with loads of potential clueless as to what they want and not even wanting to figure out. Success and failure, highs and lows, ups and downs, they are all part of life but you’ll only get to know YOU better once you’ve gotten out.

So my question to you is: when are you going out?

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