Often times when we let our minds relax we visualize ourselves in places where we have achieved our most unimaginable goals. We see ourselves doing things that we’ve never even considered to be a possibility; something that we could never fathom being part of our reality. After a while, however, we dismiss our thoughts and allow ourselves to limit our unbound abilities. We neglect the fact that success comes to those who push themselves and who aren’t intimidated by the prospect of hard work, dedication, and sometimes even failure.
In my opinion, the idea of not being successful right from the start is really what stands between us and achieving our goals. We become scared that failure will define who we are. Really, failure is just a pin to wear on our sweater to show off that we attempted something that was difficult, and although it wasn’t a huge success, it shows that we tried. We made it farther than those who couldn’t even start their journey because, as one of my favorite quotes puts it, they were “afraid to lose sight of the shore.” Venturing into the unknown is scary but after a few missteps one can learn how to accept challenges with confidence.
I say all of this because in the past few months, and continuing into the present, I have been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. I had been feeling like I was getting too comfortable with where I was and that I should be expecting more out of myself. I was becoming settled in my ways and I wasn’t really looking for new ways to challenge myself, nor was such an idea very appealing to me. It seemed like a big effort, perhaps one that I couldn’t see myself coming out on the top with.
Making the choice to end such monotony, with the support of my parents, teachers, and friends, I decided to run for the position of the Frederick County Public Schools Student Member of the Board of Education. I had to complete an application, create a platform, and participate in televised Town Hall and Candidate Forums.
It was exciting to take part in such a unique opportunity but I was equally as nervous. At times I experienced doubt. I was running against four other students who not only were a year older than I but were extremely intelligent and informed. I wondered how I would be seen in comparison to the others; if I gave the voting population (middle and high school students) a reason to vote for me.
Ultimately, I was not elected but as cheesy and trite as it sounds, I feel that I gained something else in place of the title of “FCPS SMOB.” I realized that if I didn’t even apply to be a candidate, I wouldn’t have been on the ballot. I made it farther than those who were scared to even give it a shot and that means something to me. Experiences like this one are the ones that have made me want to put myself out there and think about success instead of worrying about failure.
Also quite recently I was given the chance to attend a leadership conference held by the Maryland Association of Student Councils through my school Student Government Association. I will never forget one of the motivational speakers who came to talk to the student delegates. Mr. Ed Gerety has the gift of speech that allows him to not only effectively communicate an idea, but to make it stick in your head and make you reflect on it later. Using storytelling, he taught us to stop holding on to dreams, rather to make goals for ourselves. He told us to be grateful and to think positively. More than that, he gave all of us an appreciation for our talents and encouraged us to have faith in their development. His speech really resonated with me. I can only hope that I will never forget such an experience, especially one that came at such an appropriate time in my life.
As one of my favorite quotes reads, “If you don’t build your dreams someone will hire you to help build theirs.” (Tony Gaskins)
Only upon the full realization of our talents can we really live in our ideal reality.
Ariana Sadoughi writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.