Week 23: The more we want to do well, the harder doing well becomes

Ever felt that nagging fear at the back of your head that you’re not doing well enough?

(Yes.)

We started an Analytics subject last week, and given my education background and work experience, I should be finding this easy peasy, right? Surprisingly, no. In fact, I am feeling a lot more nervous and afraid than I would be doing other subjects that were relatively new.

In the weeks leading up to the start of this subject, I was actually rather excited for it to come about. “Finally, something I know, and am comfortable and confident with!” But after the first lecture, I have found that my experience did not quite live up to my expectations.

And this was probably due to that extra pressure to excel, externally and internally. Externally, my classmates were asking for clarification and making jokes about how I could provide tuition. And internally, I was telling myself — you shouldn’t be wrong, you cannot be wrong. Otherwise, what would that say about you and your career?

Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

As I think about this problem, I was pulled back into the past — to a performance I did 10 years ago when I was completing my A-Levels. After 6 months of preparation, it was finally opening night. I was singing the first duet of the show. And there was that familiar nagging feeling of fear and dread that things would go wrong at the back of my head.

My voice trembled as I started singing. And the more I paid attention to the shaking, the more my voice shook (it’s funny how our bodies react to stress sometimes). But as I diverted my attention to the view of the 1000 odd people in front of me, as I felt the warmth of the spotlight on my skin, I stopped shaking. I felt my confidence burst through my chest as I stood straighter, as my body gestures became bolder. And I relished on the adrenaline pumping through my veins as we completed the next 2 hours of the first show, and as we completed the next 3 shows.

And it was nothing but pure joy and delight.

-July 2012-

Maybe we need to have faith in ourselves more often, and trust that our hardwork, experience, and intuition won’t let us down.

Recalling that experience helped me realise how sometimes, the more we want to do well, the harder doing well becomes. That extra pressure stops our body and mind from doing what it knows to do. In my situation, months of intensive practices and running through scenes again and again had ingrained in our muscle memory the notes we had to sing, the steps we had to dance… we could probably do it in our sleep.

Maybe we need to have faith in ourselves more often, and trust that our hardwork, experience, and intuition won’t let us down.

And maybe it’s time for me to take that same approach with this Analytics subject, and see where that will take me.

I packed up 8 years of my life in Melbourne in December 2021 to move to Singapore to be closer to home and also to explore the world outside of what I already knew. This is a year-long series of weekly reflections on #myvoyagehome. Thank you for being a part of my journey.

Week 22: “Well, we’re both fruit”

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