I was brought up by two very determined and strong willed people so throughout my life I’ve been encouraged to question everything, form my own opinions and believe in myself. I can’t tell you that X + Y = happiness but what I will do in this post is make it clear to you that self love and confidence are two factors which will give you some rose tinted shades to look through life in.
Positivity (ah the magic word) comes from within, as Buddha-esque as that sounds, it’s completely true. Your surroundings will be affected by your outlook so an element of self belief, positivity and confidence are completely necessary. I’m wanna tell you a story which I believe encapsulates why a positive outlook is essential in trying to achieve our life long goals.
When I was younger I had always wanted to go to Edinburgh University. It was the dream, I mean, it’s basically Hogwarts but in an amazing city with a beach (okay not California living but still), home to the renowned Edinburgh festival, the land of tartan and it also had black taxis! So studying History at Edinburgh was definitely the goal for me.
Maintaining a positive outlook I was quietly sure I would get accepted.*Freeze* I know a few of you might read that and think, jeez Moll, that’s a bit arrogant. But that’s exactly where the pros of positivity come into play, I believed in myself. Sure, I know there are a thousand other applicants, probably from better schools and definitely with better grades but why wouldn’t they want me? I’m willing to put my all in, study my ass off, and try do it all with a smile. So come on Edinburgh, pick me!!
A few months after applying and I got that dreaded email, you guessed it… I got rejected. I was heart broken. As soon as I heard that they didn’t want me my positivity definitely got a kick in the face and my self confidence took a huge blow. And this, this is the key time in any moment to remain positive. I know in times like this it feels like you’re not good enough, that the University, the company, the sports team, the trainer whoever – it feels like that they know best and that they’re making the right decision.
Well, they’re wrong. If you know in your heart of hearts that you can do this. That you can run that extra 5k, that you can do those extra sets, that you can push harder and you will succeed then don’t let anyone, no matter how important they are or how high their salary is tell you differently.
Within 5 minutes I was calling the University trying to see if I could at least find out why I was rejected, was it my grades? Couldn’t be, another girl with the same grades applying for History had got a place. Was it my personal statement? My choice of A Levels? My outside class activities? They just responded saying I wasn’t quite what they were looking for. Seriously guys? I mean, you don’t want me and that’s the best you can do? Come on, gimme more to work with than that.
My Edinburgh dream was seeming more and more distant, with Bristol as my second choice it was looking like I would be heading there in September. Even though this was ‘the plan’ it still didn’t feel quite right, I wasn’t satisfied with Edinburgh’s response and to be honest, my positive side wasn’t quite having it. I was determined to get in.
Sure, the circumstances we are brought up in certainly affect our positivity as a person but if you weren’t brought up in a positive household then that doesn’t mean you can’t teach yourself to start focussing on the good. That’s why I love the gym so much, it’s a place where you can enter into your own head space, do your own thing and work your own mental challenges out. I think we can all agree that the gym gets way to much stick for being a place where the vanity like to hang out. I like to think of the gym as a physically active therapists clinic: you go, you push yourself, you confront the things you didn’t think or maybe didn’t even want to do but with the knowledge that you’re positively impacting your physicality and mental state and therefore, you do it.
So having been rejected, being told I couldn’t do it, and for a minute even believing that I shouldn’t try, I reminded myself that in any situation, there is always a way. In late August the night before our final A level results were sent out, I headed to Edinburgh from London and anxiously waited for the morning. With a 5am start I got up, grades ready and went straight to the admissions office. I wanna make clear I had pretty much no clue what I was doing or what the heck my plan was when I arrived I just knew that something had to be done.
After nervously hovering outside the University until it opened at 7am I followed a bunch of serious-looking adults through the doors and up the stairs until they dispersed into their offices. Awkward little me looking pretty shifty decided to knock on each door until I had found the Undergraduate admissions for History. I had spotted my target, hello Lorraine. Desperate for something good to come out of this I explained my situation to Lorraine, pouring my heart out about Edinburgh whilst trying to establish a ‘perfect Edinburgh student’ vibe I waited whilst she typed some stuff out. Hoping for everything and expecting nothing I left with no answer and made my way back to London.
That’s the thing with self belief, you push yourself into situations which can sometimes result into once in a lifetime opportunities. You need to find that voice inside your head that instills in you that you can do this, that you’re just as good as anyone else and that you deserve everything in life which makes you happy.
Coffee makes me happy
A few days later and I received an acceptance letter to study History at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a lovely email from Lorraine saying she was grateful she could help after the early morning start I had.
And that’s that. It’s easy to say to someone ‘you can do it’ but to be honest, the initial step of going for ‘it’ is easy. Take the gym for example, sure you can tell yourself ‘okay, I’m gonna do this. I will lose 10lbs, I won’t treat food as an emotional reward and I will go to the gym 4 days a week’. That’s the first step, but the real hard part is after you’ve been knocked down. After someone has said no, after your mind has given up and when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts’ – Churchill you flirt, you always know what to say.
It is the courage which stems from self belief that will help build that positive outlook to view your life with. So next time something negative happens take a minute, slow down, look at the bigger picture and try and see the opportunity in the challenge presented.