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How to Overcome Mental Block

Everybody knows that learning is important to grow, but not many realize that unlearning is just as important, or even more. A lot of people, myself included, aren't aware of the privileges we have while growing up, and we often overlook people's hardships and wonder why some people struggle with tasks that we think are simple. In reality, different people face different unseen issues due to the environments they were raised in. For example, my high-school principal used to repeatedly turn down our pleas to conduct inter-school competitions, telling us, "You won't be able to juggle academics with extra organizations because writing proposals will keep you up at night." At the time, I didn't realize that being in an unsuitable environment trapped me inside an eco-chamber that essentially told me that you can't achieve your dream, as simple as it was.

Upon entering university, I was luckily exposed to people from diverse backgrounds with varying capabilities. I felt like a small fish entering a large pond. My 17-year-old self had never imagined that by enrolling in an engineering degree, I'd also be able to learn how to debate academically, how to raise funds for events, and even how to climb a mountain. These things weren't possible because I knew they were, but because the people in my environment showed me that they were. This is a photo of my climb to Mount Papandayan in my first year, this was my first-ever mountain trip! :)

So how does this correlate to mental block? I found three main things that deter action:

  1. Waiting for the "right" moment to start,

  2. Fear of making mistakes, and

  3. Fear of failure. (these are why I took so long to post this blog :D)

To tackle this, we have to unlearn the narrative that, "I can't achieve A, because I have to learn X, Y, Z first." Instead, we should think, "In order to achieve A, I will learn X as the first step." Most times, we realize that once we start, the tasks that seemed super daunting are easier than we thought. Next, its important to know that there are people around us who would gladly lend a helping hand. The video below greatly explains the importance of a supportive network. Lastly, we have to be mindful of when negative thoughts arise, so as not to indulge in those negative thoughts.

The working culture in makes me believe in my contributions, no matter how insignificant I worry they might be. Everyone's thoughts and opinions are valued, and they are integral to give and receive effective feedback. This small fish is lucky to be able to knock on the neighboring corals for advice, and is excited to explore an even larger pond :D

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