Updated: Apr 6, 2022
I am not sharing a story of success here but one of failure. I want to take you 10 years ago.
It was my last year of high school. I wanted an interdisciplinary education. I wanted to travel to the US because I had heard that I could be undeclared there and even design my own program.
Fast forward two years, I barely made it to college. Only Mississippi State had accepted me. But I started enjoying my course and discovered that neuroscience was my calling. It had an element of psychology, which I had already developed an interest in, but was not all theory. It was a hard science and also interdisciplinary. But Mississippi State did not have a neuroscience program for undergraduate students.
In my second semester, Spring 2016, I came up with two plans. I applied to transfer to Amherst college, which did have a neuroscience program. For plan B, I decided to make my own major: a mix of psychology, physics, and educational psychology. Since psychology and physics were housed in the same college, I had to pick one discipline from another college, which I chose to be Ed. Psych. Of course, my parents were furious that I was wasting my time and their money on stupid things. And they were right. If I wanted to chase my goals, I should have not taken any funding from them.
I really wanted a good on-campus job so I wouldn't feel too bad about chasing my dreams with my family's funding. I worked tirelessly to get an on-campus job that spring and the following summer. But I failed. That summer, Amherst rejected me too. I went back and removed psychology and physics courses from my schedule and added business courses. I conceded. I thought Management would not be too far from psychology, but it was. In Spring 2017, I tried Marketing. It was a severely dumbed-down version of psychology. In Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, I tried to be a Resident Advisor (RA). The RA position carried enough remuneration to significantly bring down my college bill, which would have allowed me to go back to psychology, but I failed every time I tried. The F1 visa is partly to blame for what happened. Since it did not allow any sources of income besides on-campus employment, I really was in an inescapable situation.
Don't ever put yourself in situations that make you feel helpless.
This was the spring of 2017 and I started to feel extreme motivational deficits. Business and marketing were stupid. I felt like dropping out. I went to Account Services and asked how much tuition I would get back if I dropped out. She replied negatively. I was only a summer and a semester away from graduation. Then, I would get a year-long work permit, which I thought would help me recoup some cost. I decided to graduate. The permit was really a fraud, but I would rather not digress.
From that point forward, it was almost as if I lost my spirit. I was no longer the person who used to wake up excited, looking forward to a life full of learning and fascination. I could no longer envision working in labs and reading exciting research findings. I now had to be a marketer, a businessman. Even the grandest goal in this direction looked like failure to me. Being even the best marketer in the world was a failure to me.
Failure is being and doing anything other than what you are.
In 2019, I returned to India and once again had no motivation to find a job. Jobs that I liked required a psychology degree. I had no interest in stupid marketing jobs.
If you do not do what you want to, success would look indistinguishable from failure.
2019 was a hard time. I started growing my LinkedIn and started this site. To this day, I have not forgotten the inspiration I felt whenever I studied psychology and neuroscience. I could go on for hours without distraction.
Some may suggest that I should go back, but I see no reason to. The arrival of the internet has made things easier and cheaper. You no longer have to beg a university to accept you, nor do you have to worry about getting funding. You can't get a degree this way, but I really did not care about a useless piece of paper. A job? Well, I have grander plans.
After all this, I no longer worry about oppotunites I could not get, because I am about to create things 100 times bigger.
There is a world beyond Science. It is much more mystical and magical. It is much grander than neuroscience and psychology. I will bring that to you, as I have done in some of my articles before too. I will become 10x the vision I could not actualize.
Are you wit me? If yes, share this post and make me famous.