"That'll be great for university, Cami, I hope you have fun!"
When did we become so dependent on other's thoughts and opinions?
These past weeks I have been looking forward to my July trip more than ever. I will be staying two weeks in Tanzania for a community and service trip. The first week will be spent working in orphanages, schools, and in homes of those in need, and the second week will be spent in a wildlife safari. The simple fact of immersing myself into a completely new culture is already breathtaking by the sound of it, and meeting new people to become an impact in their lives makes it even better. As you might see, I am a bit overexcited about this trip, and I've begun mentioning it often in conversations, but other's responses have actuallu surprised me.
"It sounds amazing, and not to mention it's going to look great in your college resumé, nice thinking."
"That'll be great for university, Cami, I hope you have fun!"
At first I was shocked, but then again, they were right in a way; it would look good for university admission officers, but was that my drive? Was that my purpose? No, I was doing it for myself, not for others, but why would others think that this trip would be for anyone's benefit other than for my growth as a human being (and the Tanzanees of course)? Why would they think so superficially? But after thinking for a while, I realized that I was also a victim of society's superficiality.
I LOVE to take pictures, and I am embracing this passion more than ever, but for me it has always been a routine: take amazing pictures, admire them, and then I never forget to post them on Facebook or Instagram. I couldn't feel satisfied with taking the pictures for my personal growth, (don't get me wrong, I think it's great to share your pictures for other's to see your progress, but depending on that photo's success, was the wrong part) because I realized that I was seeking for other's approval. I slowly got so sucked into society's superficiality, that I stopped taking pictures for myself, and started doing it for others, hoping they'd admire them as much as I did.
My vulnerable spot could have been social media, others' could be community and service, and one could go on forever with different examples, but it all boils down to the same question:
When did we become so dependent on other's thoughts and opinions?
We are being raised in a world full of vanity, in a society FULL of superficial thoughts. After putting more thought to it, I realized that when you begin doing so much for other's approval, you slowly stop being driven by your own passions, and start guiding all your actions by other's passions, in other words, the STANDARD PASSIONS. So much importance is being put into other's perspectives on us, that we are growing as empty human beings with all the wrong passions. Wouldn't it be better to work for yourself, because you work to satisfy one rather than thousands of others? This really got me thinking, because I couldn't come up with one person who hadn't been a victim of this "disease" in one way or another.
As humans, we love to compare ourselves with others, be it for motivation or simply for competition, but what is the need to do this? Why aren't we satisfied with our own acheivements, and how in the world can we dare to seek admiration, if we can't even take the time to accept ourselves?
Inspiration: Michele and Santi's POLs :) Amazing job by the way!
Before starting, I am aware this is a very cheesy topic I'm getting into, but bear with me here.
This week, I've been thinking a lot about how people have different perceptions on life and pretty much everything in the world, but I didn't know exactly why this was. Some dread Mondays, others actually look forward to them. Some just do sports to avoid gaining weight, others do it because it might relieve them. Since no two minds are exactly alike, each and every human being might interpret things differently as well.
PERCEPTION: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
Keyword here: a mental impression. So, if the way we percieve things is nothing more than a mental impression, then it's up to us how we want to interpret life. My question is, if it truly is up to us, then why do so many people choose to bring negativity into their lives? Going back to the same example, why do people LIKE hating Mondays? Wouldn't it be so much better to enjoy the weekend to the fullest and then be just as excited on Sunday night for the next day? I too am guilty of this, or at least was.
I decided that from now on, I am going to try my best to have a "PERCEPTION 2" way of going around things because by having a positive attitude not only do you enjoy things and life more, but you are also opening yourself to new opportunites. With positivity and by having the second perception you are enjoying life; you are enjoying it so much that you'll be excited for all the opportunities it has to offer, rather than closing them down because of the fixed ideas you might've had in the past.
Here comes the cheesy part.
LIFE HAS INFINITE CHANCES; THERE ISN'T ENOUGH TIME TO BE A BYSTANDER.
Can creativity be taught?
We are given so many expectations in school, and our plates become so full of obligations, guidelines, and tasks, that what is really of value within an individual—curiosity, uniqueness, and creativity—is being undermined. Undermining the interior value of each individual doesn’t only happen with us students, but even when it comes to college admissions, universities all guide themselves by pretty much the same things before admitting someone (community and service, sports, being part of a school club, etc.), and they aren’t taking into consideration that there can still be incredible candidates for their university without necessarily meeting these guidelines. They might be seeking for creativity within the students they’re analyzing, but they are also lacking creativity by seeking for the same aspects in each student.
The modern world “encourages” creativity, but is it really that easy? To just say, be creative, and immediately ignite that creative part of your brain? If it were that simple, then we’d already be using time machines and traveling through tele transporters. Thinking creatively isn’t something you can just do from one moment to the next; it’s something that one must develop over time, if their mind is set to it.
I’d have to say, that what ignited my creativity was reading the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, and still, I believe that there is room for more creativity because it has no limits. I’m not saying this book taught me how to be creative; like I said earlier I think that creativity isn’t something you can just teach, but what it did teach me was that I CAN be creative, that I COULD change this closed idea that I wasn’t “the creative type”.
Many people say that. “I’m not the creative type”, and I too was guilty of this. People who say this are indirectly closing themselves from succeeding in most opportunities life has to offer. It has become a common stereotype that creativity must come hand-in-hand with an art (visual arts, writing, music, etc), but who says that math can’t be creative? Or biology? How do you think that famous biologists make their discoveries? With curiosity and creativity.
Can creativity be taught? No, but it can be developed.
It all starts with breaking that stereotype and telling yourself that you CAN be creative, and what comes after that, depends on the individual. There is no fixed way of developing your creativity, because everyone has their own passions and ideas. What made me creative, was questioning. A question comes hand-in-hand with the intrigue for an answer, and when I started questioning what happened around me on a daily basis, I became more and more passionate about seeking for these answers. I was questioning so often that many questions were left unanswered, so I started getting creative and began drawing to my own conclusions. By doing so, I slowly developed a new, and original way of thinking that was personalized to myself, which was when I thought to myself, “Camila, you got creative”.
Though this may be a very repetitive phrase (that’s what I though before), after really experiencing this change, I can now say, from experience, that the key to become creative is that change in your mentality to stop closing in the idea that “you're not the creative type”.
Creativity is the key to success in the modern world, so you better start changing your mentality A.S.A.P.
Details do matter, and they might matter more than you think.
My internship in Michelle Belau this week was quite interesting: I had to evaluate the pros and cons of a program that showed from the most recent clothing trends worldwide and what color schemes are trending, to some merchandising and packaging ideas. I was supposed start evaluating all the areas the program had to offer, but found myself looking more into the merchandising sections. The program showed possible store themes you could find, and there were short descriptions on these themes that really caught my attention.
One of the themes was the white monochromatic aspect:
"We have seen the minimalist aesthetic adopted in merchandising displays, however, the monochromatic aspect of displaying matte all-white products takes this clean aesthetic to another level. Retail displays that use this chalky white out effect are more inviting to the customer and deliver a sense of calm. This follows our Spring 2016 Visionary Stop, which heavily supports a white and neutral palette."
Take a look at the images, doesn't it give you that sense of calm and simplicity? Well, it did to me, and I started thinking about how great it feels to walk inside a store and feel calm, rather than being overwhelmed with all the amount of products they have to offer and some of which may seem scattered and all over the place.
I had never thought of this small detail, but whoever came up with this minimalistic theme must have put themselves in the customer's position and realized that sensing this tranquility, might make you want to visit the store more often.
This comes hand-in-hand with pretty much everything because something I hear a lot is: "Oh, it's a tiny detail, nobody will notice the difference,". Maybe it's true that nobody will notice the difference, but what if, by fixing that minor detail, your results end up greater than ever?
If I find a detail that could be changed in my Kantaya Presentation to companies, but don't find the tweak completely necessary, I would have kept it as it was before. The question I have now is: what if that detail that seemed so small to me, is what the company wants to hear? We might not know that they want to hear it, and even they might not know (unconscious part of the mind), but it doesn't hurt to add it if we know it would benefit our presentation, and possibly lead to its outcome (whether the company decides to give their financial support or not).
So as small as they may seem, don't let these details pass you by, because once they are identified, you never know how much power they could have.
We live in an age where other's opinions can be extremely influential in the decisions we make. These past weeks I've been looking into different universities that I might be interested in, and have obviously been seeking for opinions from people who know about these universities. Hearing two entirely different opinions on the same university can be confusing, and I've heard that often when asking for guidance. Is it because their opinions aren't true? Not really; they are just very subjective.
Opinions can serve well as guidance, but people are letting them completely define the choices they make, and not very often do these choices end up being what they actually want. In my case, I had been letting other opinions define my decisions, when really all they should've done was help me get a better idea because it is MY life after all; their opinions are based on what they like/think, which is a little or completely different to what I might like/think.
Imagine that you are thinking about studying business in Harvard, and you know someone who graduated from there recently. Asking them what they think, will give you a better idea as of it being the right fit for you, but letting that one opinion define your decision as a whole, isn't. What if this person was a procrastinator, and got stressed very easily? Or viceversa? You never know. My point being, that opinions are being misused, or misinterpreted because people aren't questioning enough. So all I had to do was seek for these types of opinions, and by questioning them, they would serve me as very useful guidance, but the choice at the end, would be 100% mine. The change I am working on is asking for a wide variety of opinions so that when I begin investigating a certain university, I no longer have one perspective, but m a n y , and these perspectives can allow me to draw my own conclusions and mold my decisions based on that.
As the ice crashed against my skin and my body tried to forget the 4500mts and climb, both hands were beginning to feel like they were losing grip from the ice axes, and then I remembered that they were attached to my wrist. Every hit and carve into the fossil ice was followed by short and strong kicks that were allowing my body to continue moving completely vertically towards the top of the ice wall. "Don't look down", I would tell myself, because the fear of heights had overcome my mind the moment I stepped onto that wall. I felt exhausted, sick, and ready to come back down regardless of the 4 meters left; it was a call for motivation, and there was only one solution for that. As I looked down, my eyes gleamed at the group's faces and encouragement and I proudly managed to climb those remaining 4 meters in less than five seconds. It was only coming back down when I realized that when looking below, my focus had been on the group's encouragement, rather than the fact that I was standing 16 meters above my classmates.
The main fear I had in my project was definitely presenting to the companies, because though we have elaborated long presentations in front of our class before (POL's), the corporate audience is an entirely different one in which a more professional profile is required. Luckily, we identified this fear early throughout the process, so as a group we managed to take advantage of the resources we had in front of us and began to prepare our delivery effectively with a goal of these companies to give their financial support for Kantaya in a sustainable manner. These children have the right to know what it's like to feel passion for learning, which comes hand-in-hand with the resources so, let's be the reason behind 300 smiles and give them these resources.
Speaking my opinion in discussions and participating had always been my worst fear since I was little, but unlike now, I didn't possess neither the passion or the resources--which are the fact that I am now part of a community built upon trust--and this been slowly changing. Beginning my participation in class inside a community of trust was a resourceful way of stepping outside my comfort zone, and this leap forward eventually allowed me to participate daily in my other classes as well. I became passionate about overcoming my fear, I started facing it with adequate resources, and now have managed to overcome it entirely, no longer fearing participation.
When given the resources/safety, if one truly possesses the passion, then they can, and most possibly WILL reach the end of their "wall" successfully.
The best person to judge you, is YOU. It may be hard to believe sometimes, but it's true, because who knows you better than yourself? I think no one.
This week we have begun to delve deeper into the presentation we are going to pitch to the different companies that we have targeted as potential candidates to financially support Kantaya. When we decided to deliver presentations as one of our main products, we knew what we were getting into, and it isn't easy.
Presenting pitches is the riskiest type of presentation because it determines your success; it determines whether the audience will support/agree with you or not. We went to a workshop in Procter and Gamble on Thursday so they would show us the basics on EFFECTIVE presentation making/delivering.
I came to realize that what is KEY here is knowing your information and becoming "the smartest person in the world on what you are going to present".This obviously isn't literal, but in order to be prepared enough to give a meaningful presentation, you need to know e v e r y t h i n g you can about your topic.
This, to me, was frightening at first because what we tend to focus on when planning presentations is the content: what we are going to say. Little did I know that the actual magic happens when planning how you are going to say it. You might have your detailed information written down on a KeyNote presentation and know exactly what you are going to say in each slide, but how prepared are you really?
It doesn't mean that the content you're presenting isn't important, on the contrary. What you say will take a huge part in the message your audience takes with them and you need to make sure it's accurate, concise, and inspiring. But the content you give out, though extremely important, is the least of your worries.
If you want to have the "best knowledge in the market" on your topic, you need to become your own devil's advocate. You need to ask yourself those questions that could be an opposition to your argument and think of negative possible scenarios, so this way you can be prepared for the worst during the presentation delivery. Sure it works to ask for other's feedback, but they might not know your topic as much as you do, so their hard questions won't be as challenging or contradictory. This is what I plan on doing with my group when practicing for the presentation. We will ask for feedback from the founders of Kantaya to get their consent, but the questioning will be done by us. Not as Camila, Romina, and Chiara, but as our own devil's advocates.
For some, having a quality education can seem like something so very little.
We are aware of the priviledged education we have and most people who receive quality education really do make the best of it. Or at least that's what we are used to thinking.
I hadn't come to realize until recently that for us education can be a minor issue because we have a quality one, but there are people out there who have it different. Many public school students in Perú don't receive a quality education, and luckily there are people out there who have the resources and knowledge to do something about it. We have that power of inverting something little into a bigger and more meaningful context.
Perú is ranked in the upper third worldwide regarding to its economy, but is ranked in the lower third regarding its education. How is this possible? These statistics, in fact prove that either our country isn't caring, or that most aren't aware. I hope to believe it's the second possibility, which is what Kantaya is missing. It is improving the children's education immensely, but not many people know it exists. What makes Kantaya stand out from the other education-based NGO's is that it doesn't only focus on providing the children education, but it makes sure that they receive a QUALITY education that is taught by motivated teachers, because they realized that most people think it takes anyone to teach, when what you really need is a passionate teacher if you want a passionate student. Kantaya's belief is that in order to truly change these children's mentalities and help them break out of the cycle, the education they provide must be of high quality.
I find it amazing how by simply changing one's mentality, their entire brain can "expand" and they begin expanding their horizons as well, seeking to aspire hopes and dreams that they didn't think they could acheive before. I came to realize that when one has strong goals, they seek the impossible to acheive them and with these students in Perú who receive a low education, before giving them quality education one must help the children build growth mindsets so this way, they'll be willing to learn. Otherwise, students might think it "makes no sense to receive quality education if they are going to wash cars when they are older anyway."
So other than being appreciative of what we have, people should acknowledge when they have the power of giving in something little--such as supporting Kantaya--because by just giving something small you have the power to change futures.
On Thursday I started my first internship in Michelle Belau for my IBG. After starting the backpack business for my personal project, I knew that business was the career I wanted to pursue in college, but where to narrow it down as a minor, was still a mystery. This internship opportunity is allowing me to delve into different job positions by helping and observing how everyone works.
On the first day I was put to work with the chief of digital marketing and was a bit bummed when she told me that it wasn't her most productive day because we wouldn't be doing much, or at least that's what I thought. What I then realized was that I was actually getting the opportunity to ask about anything that was on my mind. After long hours of talking, I came to a conclusion I wish I'd thought of before.
This woman was working on her favorite thing in the world, and she too had once been afraid of not finding a true passion in life. If you expand your horizons, you will find a passion, and when you do, the whole fear of the future will slowly fade away. And suddenly, I felt relieved.
When working in school, people tend to stick to classrooms, where else would they work? I mean, some classes or schools might be more flexible than others in terms of working outside, or in the library, but it's still technically a quite limited environment.
Where you work best, when you work best, is entirely dependant on the individual. School almost always starts first thing in the morning and ends in the afternoon; it has always been this way, but here's the thing. What if the time when you concentrate best is at night? It doesn't mean you can't concentrate in the morning, but if a great part of the learning is taking place at a moment where you aren't your best, it becomes a limitation. What if you concentrate best in a room listening to rock music?
I am curious about the moment when people decided that learning would solely take place in the confines of a classroom. Of course it's the easiest method for teachers to teach and students to learn, but that doesn't mean it's the best one.
It's a hard change to make with what traditional school and classrooms are accustomed to be like, but my question for the future is, how far will educators go into making the learning environment more personal for the students, rather than personalized?