Many people I am acquainted with believe that success is a requirement for achieving one’s ambitions. Among the most successful people I have come to know are those who are proficient at self-promotion. Regrettably, succeeding in one field does not always equate to success in another, even though it may give one a false sense of assurance.
Having recently entered the education field, I gained invaluable experience by working as a teacher’s aide at the high school I had just graduated from. I was part of a summer program, which I continued to work at part-time during my four years as an undergraduate. After completing my undergraduate studies, I worked as a full-time instructor there for an additional two years.
Upon reflection, I can admit that my teaching methods during this period were not particularly effective. While I may have been considered to be average at best, I felt that I was highly capable of teaching. What went wrong? It appears that I was only successful in connecting with a quarter of my class. I tended to teach directly to those I believed would comprehend my lectures. Furthermore, I had some admirers that appreciated my combination of traditional wisdom and modern style. This enabled me to create an entrancing environment that captivated the students who I was targeting. It was truly a remarkable experience, and I felt like I was on top of the world. On the other hand, the remaining three-quarters of the class seemed to be perplexed, exasperated, or uninterested.
As a result of my lack of self-awareness and modesty, I found myself in a difficult predicament – I was relying on a vocal minority to inform my decisions, and I was allowing my perceived competency in a certain area to give me an inflated sense of my own expertise. This, combined with my tendency to overestimate my own abilities, meant that I was seen as an irritating presence by my peers and teachers alike. By pretending to be ‘the best’ in the school and thinking I had mastered all the ‘tricks’, I was only fooling myself.
After dedicating a full ten years of my life to the community of both students and teachers, I still felt as though I was an outsider. My arrogance and lack of talent seemed to have caused people to distance themselves from me, leaving me feeling isolated. On the rare occasions when I received letters of thanks from a few of my students, where they expressed their appreciation and admiration for the knowledge they had gained from me, I took pride in them and boasted, “See, I’m the best of the bunch! You were my teacher, and now I will be yours.
Due to the insight I gained, my understanding of certain matters has significantly increased. After I distanced myself from my former high school and first job, I spent the next ten years reflecting on the knowledge that I had acquired while in those places. Unfortunately, my negative attitude and lack of confidence caused me to drive away many of my friends and colleagues. However, this did not give me the satisfaction I was looking for. When one is surrounded by a group of people with whom they have little in common, it can lead to them feeling like outsiders or even a potential danger. If this is the case, then the only viable option is to leave.
After years of cyclical repetition, I finally reached a point in my life at which I was willing and able to engage in conversation with all sorts of people. I am committed to learning and developing my skillset, and I am determined to maintain a humble outlook as I continue to strive for mastery in my studies. I recognize that the journey of learning never ends, yet I am confident that I am now equipped with the knowledge of what steps I need to take in order to progress.
It is important that I exercise self-control and refrain from demonstrating favoritism towards certain colleagues while expressing dissatisfaction with others. This is not conducive to a productive and collaborative workplace and may prevent other potentially beneficial ideas from being heard. In addition, I will not accept any sub-par work from myself or anyone else. Instead, I will strive to reach my and my team’s maximum potential.
I must be honest and acknowledge that I am not particularly smart or deserving of the successes I have achieved in life, nor am I the person who will bring about the end of the world as I once dreamt as a child. Rather, I have been fortunate to have been born into a supportive family and community. I recognize that I have benefited from the people and events that have shaped my actions and perspectives and, therefore, cannot claim to have achieved success on my own merit alone. To my disappointment, I accept that I will not be the one who brings about the end of the world. However, I do have an opportunity to become someone who has the courage to speak truth to power while showing compassion to those with less influence. My strength in the English language is a resource I can use to help transmit a powerful message to a wide audience if I strive for excellence and resist the temptation to become overly prideful.
If I do not take the initiative to try something new and challenging, I will be left behind as the world changes and evolves around me. My circle of peers and colleagues with whom I am able to cooperate and collaborate on projects will diminish until the day I pass. Fortunately, those of you who have been working with me on this endeavor understand my mindset, and together we are able to grow and progress. We help and encourage one another, and strive to make the world a better place. We refuse to accept arrogance or settle for mediocrity, and instead work together to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to make a positive and meaningful impact on society.