Every one has those moments in their life where the crisis hits, that watershed moment where you have a choice that must be made, and which way you decide to go with determine so much of what is ahead. Often the powerful thing about such moments is that your past doesn’t automatically have to be your reference point for where you go from there. It can be a moment of revival, redirection.
The past few years of my life especially actually feel like a journey from one such point to another really. But this morning, I wanted to share with you what must be one of the latest ones for me. It was definitely unexpected and unplanned for, but how I embraced it made it truly a revolutionary tipping point – a key to unlocking my personal development towards so many deep desires that I have had for a long time.
My hope in sharing a bit of my story is that when that moment comes for you, that you could embrace it and make the choice that could set your path on so much a more awesome trajectory that you could have hoped for or imagined! Sounds too good to be true? Well, read on and see. This is me!
Some of My Aspirations
OK, so first of all, I’ll share with you some of my aspirations.
As a University student, of course, I really want to do well. I’m studying Business, HRM, as well as starting Japanese earlier this year. When I first started out, I did alright. But I know that if I was to take myself now, back in time to when I started, I know that I would have done so much better.
Another major aspiration for me was that I could have a healthy life, a healthy diet. I lived for many years in a Community actually where this was a bit part of their ethos. So I had learned a lot from that experience. My values were definitely shaped by that. Growing up, I was in Sydney’s western suburbs and didn’t know much about healthy living at all, really. So all those years in a Community that had a lot of learning and wisdom about those realms was transformative for sure.
But about two years ago, I left that. From that point, with nothing in terms of this world’s riches, I embarked on a new stage in my journey – one desire to contribute good to this world. I believed that a philosophy of sharing and contribution could work beyond the bounds of an intentional community.
But how was I to fulfill my aspirations now that I didn’t have that social and financial support to do that? (The Community I lived in was common-purse and minimalist, so it was geared systemically to fulfill, to some degree, those kinds of aspirations, though it was limiting because it was all within the broader framework of a collective aspiration.)
Troubles with My Standards
So the trouble was I could have my head in the clouds as much as I liked, and dream big dreams – but that alone isn’t going to accomplish much. When the rubber hits the road in this world, aspirations are never enough.
One big thing, of course, that I had to embrace and learn was the limitation of living in a world built on economics and financial capital. At the end of the day, this is one cost that must be factored into the reality equation.
That, and time, are two of the biggest resources. Probably the third is a combination of human capital (what you have to offer as person) and your social capital (your connections, your network, who you know).
So in spite of all my aspirations, I had little to work with, and basically I settled for way less than what I now believe is possible.
Now, as far as my first aspiration, to achieve academic excellence, I had the time to put towards that, and obviously my ability to achieve that has been a learning curve (another whole story). I have gained so much “meta-learning” (learning how to learn), especially this year.
I studied FIVE courses last trimester, including my first course in Japanese and a course on Japanese Society & Pop Culture! I actually managed to achieve FIVE High Distinctions! And that was with a definite increase in my meta-learning capital and my social capital (through the development of my Winner’s Club). But I actually was still pretty haphazard with my time management!
So I’m expecting, now that my revolution has begun, that I’ll be able to continue to attain similar awesome results, but with a little less effort and more efficiency.
But as far as my aspirations for healthy lifestyle and diet, my standards were so low, and my actual belief that I could achieve it so low, that I basically hadn’t really given much serious thought to achieve anything.
Mostly lots of two-minute noodles, a lot of dining out and occasional food on Campus. And coffee! Lots of coffee, both instant at home and $4.50 a pop when I was out.
So with my limited budget and financial chaos really (in spite of my aspiration to budget), to actually get from where I was to my ideal day, my ideal week, my ideal life, was a pipe-dream.
Unexpected Crisis and How I Embraced It
Well, this was where I met a major crisis that caused me to have to rethink the whole way I was doing things.
Over my University break, I was away at a camp. I took my laptop in my bag, but didn’t expect to have the WiFi to actually use it. But one night I decided to use my mobile hot spot (which had a little reception), and turn on my laptop…
Well, it turned on for a few seconds…
Then turned off. Black screen. No idea what had happened.
Thankfully, I hadn’t happened a couple of weeks earlier as I was preparing for my Exams or Major Assessments.
But after having my laptop looked at, the technician figured that the cost of repairs was not worth it, and there was no real guarantee it would last for much longer besides. So I bought a case for my hard-drive (a really good SSD with all my Uni stuff and other things). Now I was going to need a new laptop somehow.
So my first week of classes began. Thankfully, Griffith University actually has a lot of computers. They also have an option to borrow a laptop for 3 hours at a time, between 8am and 7pm. So for the first few weeks, I did all of that, with some judicious use of my Google Drive and Microsoft Onedrive.
But more than that, I finally realised now that I was going to have to organize myself. When was I needing to do my prep work? If I needed a computer for it, I needed to be at Campus. Or could I download some of my readings as PDFs on my phone and read it at home.
Anyway, long story short, I timetabled my whole study schedule for the first time ever. Also, between a friend and I who were studying the same courses (who I had met in February, and who became a key member of my Winner’s Club) we locked in some collaborative sessions to help each other out. Teaching one another was going to definitely help us to engage more and learn the content.
The Path From There
Well, that went on for three weeks, and was pretty awesome! So then when I finally got money from a Student Loan so I could get my new laptop, I haven’t stopped being time manager.
Beyond that, I also met a friend who excited once again my aspiration to consider my lifestyle and diet. This was the beginning of a major mental shift, a personal revolution.
I realised I could eat healthy with my tight student budget.
And I could afford then a little extra on my phone bill, and finally get a better phone!
And more than that, I could set up my Blog and start sharing my experience, so others who have the same challenges and aspirations (like you) can be inspired and have their own revolution too!
Keep Your Eyes Open, Your Ear to the Ground
So to make a long story short, a few key lessons! And one major one really:
Aspirations are good, but to achieve anything real, it begins with raising the standard of how low you’re willing to go.
I raised the standard of my health up, and wasn’t willing to accept junk and wasn’t willing to waste so much money on junk either.
Once you raise your standards and commit to invest towards a better way – then you can get connected to your passions and build up from there.
If I can do this, honestly, anyone can. Let’s do this!