When September 2020 came to view, I was set to make it as productive as possible. I see it as the last month I can focus on blogging alone. The thing is, October 2020 is the month I start my freshman college year. Because of that, I wanted to stretch this month by joining free webinars I somehow see as related to what I am blogging about.
Last September 5, I joined a virtual mentoring program from Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation. While I was reading what would the virtual mentoring program be about, I got interested because it talked about how people managed to focus on both sports and education.
When I read the summary of the event, I was given hope that maybe, instead of sports, I can focus on blogging and not stray far from my college goals.
During the start of the virtual mentoring program, I was astounded to see that all the other participants were African American young boys. I tried recalling any details from the summary I read and remembered nothing about it solely being for young boys. Because of that, I decided to stay and not let my camera on.
At that time, I thought it was such a terrible idea but when I heard all the speeches from the members of the foundation, I realized that among my other silly ideas, this one tops them all for I learned things I knew I would not have learned if I never stayed in the virtual mentoring program dedicated for young boys.
Here are the 15 life lessons I learned from the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation virtual mentoring program that I was not supposed to be part of:
1. Do not let other people feed off your ignorance.
As sad as this may sound, there are a lot of people who tend to take advantage of other people’s ignorance of issues that are both big and small. To not fall prey to these people, you must always try your hardest to educate yourself.
One thing I was really fascinated about the people who talked during the virtual mentoring program was the way they value education. They see it as something that you can use as a weapon against people who are lurking and waiting to prey on your ignorance.
I think one of the reasons I stayed in the virtual mentoring program was the fact that I was in awe listening to people’s beliefs about education that coincides with my dad’s.
I once read a quote from Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda which I really loved. The quote was, “But there was something so familiar about the way Blue (one of the characters) described the feeling. It was like he had pulled the ideas from my head.”
I suddenly remembered the quote because that was how it felt like. It was like the people who gave their speeches pulled their ideas about education from my dad’s head and decided to tell it to me using the easiest way I can understand it.
2. Before you learn who you are not, you must learn who you are first.
Oftentimes, we focus on other people’s attributes we want for ourselves not realizing that we are fine the way we are. I have this friend who always opens up to me about her insecurities. Whenever she does that, I always see myself in her for that is how I always am: looking at other people’s attributes and wanting what they have for myself.
Although I cannot really say that I am passed that phase, I am now realizing that I am interesting like how I see other people. I am also learning that self-discovery is the path to both self-love and self-improvement.
3. Sometimes, you will think the universe is cheating, but you should keep thriving despite that.
There are days when I feel like I was cheated on by a higher force such as the universe or God Himself. Although that is the case, I recently started shifting my point of view. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Iyanla Vanzant said that God gives us life assignments.
Ever since I listened to that podcast episode, I started seeing every occurrence in my life as something that holds a purpose. Like what most people say, God will not give you anything you cannot handle.
No matter what happens, you must keep on thriving and let everything unfold right before you.
4. When you die, everything you own is still going to be here.
In her book, Marie Kondo kept on stating that one must always ask if the things one wants to keep would spark joy. Before I thought it was just a way to declutter your closet, but while I was viewing the virtual mentoring program, I was opened to another point of view about it: life is too short to not fill it with things that make you happy.
It is okay to spoil yourselves with things others call as liabilities as long as it brings you joy. Once you die, it is not those things that you take with you, but the emotions it made you feel.
5. Learn to fall in love with the process.
More often than not, we are too focused on our goal not realizing that our process of reaching it holds beauty, too.
The thing is, not all goals are reached. Yes, they are always in our grasp, but sometimes we fail to take hold of them. During the times when goals are not being grasped, most of us tend to allow ourselves to be gobbled up by the waves of sadness and regret.
I think the reason behind it is that we were too fascinated with the thought of reaching our goals that we do not realize how the process of reaching it allowed us to learn more insights about the world and ourselves.
6. Celebrate when things do not go your way.
I do not know about you, but I used to abhor it when things do not go the way I vicariously lived it.
An example was when I did not pass the D-SHAPE. Before the examination, I have been vicariously studying in De La Salle University-Manila as a senior high school student. I once thought that what one vicariously lives will be a reality without any work so I was really disheartened when I found out I did not pass.
During the first days of studying in Colegio San Agustin-Makati, I cannot help but feel regretful because I know that my path would have been different if not for my laziness to study during the D-SHAPE. Because I was focusing too much on the what-could-have-been, I was not able to make the most of my first days in Colegio San Agustin-Makati.
I never realized that time how the new path I took has shaped me in more ways than none. Looking back, it made me realize that instead of focusing on how things did not go your way, you must focus on your learnings brought by the change in your path.
7. See beneath the struggle.
Although the struggles can be a source of sadness and regret, we must always pay attention to them for they can bring us realizations that we would have never realized if we were always on the safe side of life.
In one of the free courses from Mindvalley, it was stated that loss and sufferings are what pushes as far in life. Although this may sound odd, I do not believe it. It is not the sufferings as a whole that push as far in life; it is the lessons brought by those struggles.
8. Everybody is not supposed to understand your vision.
It is okay that not everyone sees you in the way you envision yourself. As long as you see yourself grasping your dream, that is already enough. You do not need other people to stand by you in achieving your goals.
The friend who supported me in the literary piece I posted in Betsin-Arts Paradise, made me realize how sincerity tops quantity. In this world where we think it is a must to get as much support as we need, we must do our best to pay attention not on the numbers of the support but on the sincerity that comes with the support.
9. When you have a purpose and a plan, there should be no room for distractions.
This may sound weird, but I do not believe in the power of motivation. No matter how much you motivate yourself, if you do not have a plan of action, your motivation will be of no use.
I once read online that once you have a purpose, distractions will easily be eliminated on your track. I consider it as a fallacy. Distractions will always be there that is why you need a plan of action that will combat them as you keep your eyes on your purpose.
10. Failure is not always rejection.
Oftentimes, I view failure as a rejection which should not be the case. Like what one of the speakers said in the virtual mentoring program, people fail because they are not ready for the things they ask themselves.
When the speaker said that, it made me realize that rather than rejection, more often than not, failure is just a pause that will make you evaluate your choices: if you are going to try another route, or try to be stronger.
11. It is okay that people do not believe in you in the past.
One of the important things I realized in the virtual mentoring program is the power of not taking people’s opinions against them. If people’s views do not align with yours, respect it. If their views suddenly coincide with yours, do not let their past views cloud your idea of them.
Like what most people say and believe, change is the most constant thing in the world. If you allow yourself to change, do not interfere with other people’s changes.
12. Abundance is not always in the form of money.
Oftentimes we see abundance as something related to currency which is not the case. In my understanding, currency is the lowest form of abundance you can have. Yes, money allows you to live your life confidently.
I would lie if I suddenly say that I do not dream of having lots of money, but the thing is, I am starting to realize that rather than having money, what I really want are the perks I get to have with money. It is not money that we really crave for; what we crave for are the different things we can own and experience through money.
13. Make your eyes open enough to see people who are struggling.
If you would really take your time to observe the people around you, you would realize that some of them are really struggling and trying to get by day by day.
Sometimes, we are too fixed on seeing the beautiful facade not realizing how there are struggles beneath the surface of each one of us. Once we open our eyes day by day, I hope we do not open it with blind positivity. Instead, let us open it in hopes of seeing both the negative and positive reality.
14. If it is your dream, you should do your best to believe it more than anyone else.
Among all the lessons I learned from the virtual mentoring program, this one is what I consider as my favorite. It really talked to me for dreams are something I hold dear to me.
When this was stated by one of the speakers, it made me realize that most of my dreams are not really mine. They are put unto me by those people around me who I am closely related to such as my parents.
Although that is the case, I am fine with it not because I want to reach the dreams I have that do not coincide with them but because my dreams actually coincide with their dreams for me that I do not see any point on disregarding it.
15. Show up for the people who show up for you.
Before the program ended, one of the members of the virtual mentoring program said that it was okay for the young boys to talk to him through Instagram. He also said that when they write for him, he will write back.
When he stated that, I cannot help but remember the way I always felt disregarded by those who I wanted to learn more from. I am in awe to know that there are actually people who are willing to show up for you the way that you show up for them. It is just really heartwarming.
Why, hello there!
Thank you for reading! I appreciate it a lot.
I think this is my longest blog post so far. I am actually proud of myself for being able to finish writing a list. Before, whenever I see the weekends coming, I tend to eliminate the number of items I enumerate. For this one, I tried my best to finish it and I am so blissful that I actually did. Yay!
By the way, please follow my mom’s Instagram account! If I have an Instagram account, I will surely follow her even if, let us say, I am not her daughter.
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