I remember when some many years ago I discovered the magnificent world of YouTube. When I was first shown cat videos or biggest fails of 2009 I deemed it useless. Or at least very unnecessary and generally a waste of my precious time and even more precious eye sight. I was always a bigger fan of the written word and visual content in the form of photographs and other types of graphics, such as illustrations or comics. Fast forward to Christmas NotSureWhatYear clicking from one blog to another I have landed on Zoella’s page. At the time I was stuck at my parent’s place in a village in Poland and I craved seeing pretty people in pretty clothes talking about something silly with strange, yet captivating passion and a huge smile (people in Poland don’t tend to smile much so it was imperative to outsource face expressions from the world wide web).
At Zoella’s cute pastel polka dot and bows stuffed blog I have discovered she was also making videos. Click click click. Few months later I’m a full on beauty youtuber stalker junkie. Having lived in London at the time I felt like I needed to look representative and appropriate for the city, which resulted in me buying a ton of make up varying from drugstore to high-end to the full 11 asian beauty regime pack. Click click click. It got a little better, I started discovering more ‘proper’ content and actually learning something from it. I realised the platform was not so useless after all.
What I was trying to get at in this lengthy introduction is that after clicking around on YouTube for months if not years I have discovered Shameless Maya. She may not be my ultimate role model but she is, by all means, one of my inspirations for this little project. Maya is an actress and an overall creative person who, like many others, did not really feel strong and confident enough to put herself ‘out there’. Being an artist, I guess we can all agree, this is a step of rather great importance. Being fed up with hiding and not being able to fully express herself because of her angsts Maya decided to challenge herself with this YouTube project she started in 2012. “What would happen if I shamelessly promoted myself for 365 days?” was the question and social media experiment marking the start of Maya’s online self-discovery. Since then, she has achieved…. well, a lot. Like starring in Google’s original series God Complx and feature film, Alaska is a Drag. She even had the opportunity to work with Prince as his photographer and creative director for his album, Art Official Age, to mention a few.
So do I want to be like Maya?
Yes. no, maybe? I want to be myself. But just like her, in order to be more myself and hopefully actually realise who I am and what I want I need to put myself out there. Expose myself. Follow all the different paths I always wanted to follow, pull all the strings I’ve been seeing hanging around me, sniff all the hands that try to feed me, lick some, maybe even bite some. Pursue that one big dream which is yet to crystallise.
As to answer the question on how to challenge yourself when you’re feeling useless, you have no drive and you don’t exactly know what direction to move towards next…. well, TELL A FRIEND about it. They will hold you accountable. And hold your hand. And hold and cling the glasses with you when the fame and glory come. Just kidding.
In this journey I hope to be able to achieve some more clarity. If you’d like to see how it goes, hop on this wonky wagon and let’s ride into the sunrise of discovering my hidden potential. And yours, as I am planning to post about things I am learning, things I am seeing, hearing, eating, things that inspire me, yield results, facilitate or hinder growth – emotionally, intellectually, physically.
As with all clarification processes it may be a little messy to start with, the road may be bumpy and there won’t be much of a plan but I promise it will get better with time. I will, and hopefully so will you.
Some actual steps on how to challenge yourself:
- Feel utterly fed up with your lack of drive – I was so hopeless in making an effort to speak German and engage with the local people that even my psychologist gave up and told me that it would maybe be better if I went back to the UK or Poland. That stung, that hurt, that changed nothing for a very long time but then, eventually, clicked! I am still not the most avid user of the German language but at least I don’t sweat, tremble or run away now.
- Find someone to relate to – positively! Try and search for role models in every day people who were facing similar struggles. Watch them become better, grow and design their ideal lives. That may be your friends, teachers, family members. Everyone of us is fighting their own battles, pick the ones who seem to be winning them, watch and learn, ask for advice, be patient.
- Get inspired – just like in the point above, if you’re feeling like a waste of space you need someone to look up to. But don’t look up too high. Most of us useless people are actually useless because we want to achieve perfection on the first try so if you find your guru to be the super ultra mega best at this one thing or preferably all the things you are never going to feel inspired – you’ll just feel overwhelmed and not good enough again. Try some small to medium fame-sized person. For me it was Tim Ferriss. Some may say he’s huge, some may have never heard of him. He kinda is a jack of all trades so perhaps not the best to start with, however, I felt particularly attracted to his persona precisely for this reason. I was always good at everything, then I stopped, now I want to be very good at most things. Doable!
- Decide what it is that you always wanted to be but never even started because you knew there was zero chance of you becoming good/famous/popular right away. Be that singing, acting, blogging, starting a youtube channel, signing up for that coding bootcamp (which is actually a fast tracking method so definitely recommend), trying your luck at telesales or copywriting, being a translator or a dolphin trainer. You name it. Then go do it.
- Start doing it and share your results and progress, or lack thereof, with the world. Be shameless (hehe Maya). This is the scariest part. This is what was keeping you from trying it for so long. How many times did I try teaching myself to play the guitar when no one was at home and without anyone knowing I even touched it, how many language apps have I downloaded for all the languages I wanted to learn, yet never shared with anyone out of the fear of someone actually asking me how it was going. I only ever cook when no one is around because I’m scared they would criticise me and judge for not being a Michelin star gourmet chef. There are many many things I thought of doing and the thought never even verbalised on my tongue to whisper it to myself in case the walls were listening and would later check on me just to find out I wasn’t yet the greatest. So, cut the crap and get going.
I feel very sad that Bowie isn’t with us anymore, but one thing that always makes me smile and keeps me focused in harder times are the words of an old acquaintance of mine:
“Live like your life is a canvas and Bowie is holding the crayon”