Very early on this year, I remember reading a quote which read ‘Be who you needed when you were younger’. After giving it some thought, I realised that being the person you needed when you were younger is such significant characteristic. It also ties in well with setting examples for the younger generation. I’ve somewhat kept the quote close to me when transitioning through many rites of passages this year. Being the person you needed when you were younger can mean many things to different people – in this post I’ll get into the idea of what it means to me as well as what it could mean to you. I solely believe that representation is important when it comes to influencing and inspiring people (especially young people). To link this to myself – as a child, a perfect role model for me in the media or in school never really existed. I was as impressionable as any other younger boy and despite being shy at times, I always wanted to be a successful individual when growing up. Watching TV in the evening was the done thing ten years ago and I remember struggling to find representation of myself as well as relate to a lot of British TV programmes that were popular to watch. This is because of two fundamental things. Most programmes were predominantly white. Therefore, representation of me was minimal in the first place. And… The representation of young black boys that was on television was unbalanced and did not reflect me. (a large amount of the representation was negative) When I saw big shows like ‘Top Boy’, I was able to appreciate the art of the show (because it was a top quality show), but struggled to relate to any of the characters. Similarly, in soaps like EastEnders I noted that gang members were predominantly represented as black. I don’t only have an interest in sport and having interests in things such as sociology, politics, the media etc is difficult to engage in at times when you’re not represented from within. Therefore, I think that it is important to be your true self as well as the person you needed when you were younger so that you build gateways for the next generation. In recent years, I’ve witnessed a gradual change in television with shows like ‘Chewing Gum’ and even the film ‘Black Panther’. However, it does seem as though America is leading the way in the trend towards fairer representation. I also stumbled across a YouTube channel named ‘The Grapevine’ which is a black owned discussion show which delves into topics of representation in race and gender etc. (a show that I might be writing about in the foreseeable future) I think that it’s impressive when I see people being their authentic selves at a young age, especially when they haven’t been represented sufficiently in the outside world. When speaking about how to be a better version of yourself, it may seem like the most cliché thing to say but being yourself is most important. It’s the truth. Being your authentic self is all it takes to be the person you needed when you were younger. This is because a lot of the time in a world filled with consumerism, social media and copycat behaviour. People often become a replica of the people they surround and associate themselves with. Being someone that doesn’t conform to everything in life is something that we should all commemorate especially if you feel as though you have something of worth to give to the world.
To begin my ‘comeback’ on the blogging scene, I decided to write about something that has been requested often, particularly by fellow athletes. However, I have somewhat avoided it simply because I knew that it would be something I would struggle to give advice on it. Nevertheless, I think that I have finally come up with three sort of steps on how to deal with setbacks.
Setbacks, defeat and disappointment. They’re frustrating and demotivating. You may face them in sport, exams or even just everyday life.
We are often faced with setbacks, defeat and disappointment, but how do we deal with them? I’m not going to pretend to be a guru on this but I’m willing to give my perspective on things. To gear this towards my athletic audience without excluding the rest of my readers, I’ll try and intertwine both athletics and everyday life disappointments into this write.
Firstly, defeat is embarrassing. That is a fact. Especially when you have put yourself on a pedestal in the first place. So, my first tip to save yourself from that embarrassment would be to stay quiet about you goals. It’s very rare for people to explicitly say their exact aims in high profile interviews as like I said, if you fail it ends up being embarrassing. Additionally, it adds more unnecessary pressure before you even face the disappointment. I would avoid telling too many people your personal goals as it will honestly make dealing with a setback much easier. That’s not to say that you can’t give yourself praise and believe that you can do things to the best of your ability to gain success.
We are often told to compare ourselves to those who are less fortunate than us to make us more humble. It makes sense but it’s undeniable that we live in a society that is extremely competitive. This results in us comparing ourselves to those who have more success than us leading us to never be fully satisfied with our own accomplishments. We always want more which isn’t necessarily bad BUT the notion of entitlement is somewhat damaging at times. Therefore, firstly you might need to accept your setback, defeat and/or disappointment and put it into perspective in a way to realise that ‘its not the end of the world’. It sounds harsh after so much hard work, dedication and sacrifice whether that is in sport or exams, I know. But, perspective is important. It might help by speaking to other people to gain their perspectives on your situations too. In addition, failure to reach your goal doesn’t mean that you can’t try again which leads me on to my next point.
Another way in which you can deal with disappointment is to set yourself new goals as well as not giving up on old ones. I’ve written a post about goal setting before and it’s something that I still stand by strongly. Goal setting is imperial when you want to succeed in something. A positive mid set is a healthy mindset so, convincing yourself that you are going to fail is only going to lead you to failure. If you really do want something, then you will put in the hard work for it. My advice would be to keep trying because the worst that can happen is failure, and failure itself isn’t all that bad – especially when lessons are leant from it.
If you would like some advice on goal setting please read one of my previous posts here.
There are many different definitions of power. However, they all run along the lines of explaining that it is as the ability to actualise an idea and make it a reality. Some people view power as being a spectrum. On one side of the spectrum lies people with the most power and the other side represents those with little power.
Throughout time, power has often carried with itself a negative connotation. This is due to power being misused in a way that has lead to negative realities being actualised. An example of this would be Hitler’s Nazi far-right political party or even just a smaller scale example of a teacher using their power to treat students unequally would still fit suit. Nevertheless, we need to remember that power can also be used in positive ways (which tend to actually have longer lasting affects).
In order to find yourself on the side of the ‘spectrum’ that allows you to have a lot of power, it is thought that you need to have a broad and clear understanding of the world. A wide ranged understanding of the society that you find yourself in is important. This understanding needs to include knowledge of social matters, politics and current affairs. An awareness of reality consequently leads you to the resources that can indeed make you a powerful person. These resources include money, education and social support. This explains why the majority of politicians (that have a considerable amount of power) have such powerful statuses. Their parents often had the money to send them to high performing private educational institutions. At these institutions, they have a huge amount of social support as there tends to be a value consensus status quo.
This theory is evident in everyday situations. When somebody has a wide understanding of a situation, you tend to respect their opinion a lot more. This also happens often when you are aware that somebody has a lot of money, a big educational qualification (a degree for example) and social support. In addition, in today’s society, money tends to be the biggest influence of an individual’s power status as social class is somewhat always determined by monetary success.
So, as said before, those with power generally have a greater understanding of the world along with the resources of money, education and social support. With all of that being said, there are still people out there who find themselves in powerful positions without the resources that usually enable you to be powerful in the first place. This often leads to power being used in nonconstructive ways. Nevertheless, it isn’t always too late to change that. Jay-Z is an example of a man that arguably didn’t use his powerful status constructively in the beginning of his success. Although, he has now used his power (and money) to educate himself and others on social matters to try and make a positive change to society by having important conversations about politics, social justice and even love. Without his efforts to have a better understanding of the world, it is likely that his power would been misused.
In regards to the main message to this blog post, I wanted to explain why certain people may or may not be seen as powerful. Maybe you could use this information and make yourself more of a valued, powerful individual (for good reasons). You can become someone that has the power to influence or actualise an idea. Educate yourself on social, political and current affairs. Knowledge equates to power. If you aren’t someone who can easily get the resource of money, your knowledge will often outweigh it. A lack of education leads to limitations and you don’t want to find yourself in that situation. Let’s make ourselves able to make the right decisions which impact ourselves and our surroundings in a positive way. As a result, you’ll also be viewed as a much more valued individual in society.
Apologies for not posting yesterday. Long story short – I was busy 🙂
Anyway, let’s get to the post.
I’d like to think that goals are important. In my experience, I know that I achieve better in specific things when I know I have an end goal. I’m always searching for a new goal that I can set mentally. Whether that be in education, athletics or just everyday general life.
When you run out of goals to aim for, I think that it’s very easy to drift off into a space of carelessness. Having a bunch of goals to keep you well driven will always keep you on track. Short term and long term goals will benefit each other and help balance things out. Let’s take a small example of my own… It’s half term for me now and I reached my goal of trying to keep a 100% attendance at sixth form. This enabled me to keep on top of my work and go through the term smoothly. This short term goal will help be in my long term goal of trying to achieve good grades at the end of the year.
It’s important to not let your goals consume all of your energy. I would definitely advise people keep a healthy balance of ‘work’ and ‘play’ time. This will of course help with your mental state too. It’s also important to know that you’re not always going to achieve your goals. Especially if you aim high. As long as you deal with failure in a pro-active way with a level head on your shoulders, you’ll be able to move onto your next goal swiftly.
So, no matter how big or small your goals may be, they’ll always be beneficial to you if you have the right approach. You will prosper.
Before I get into this one, I would just like to say that I hope everyone got the grades that they wanted today on their A level results day. If you didn’t get what you hoped for then please there are still many things that you can do to maybe improve those grades or take an alternative route that could be just as beneficial in the end.
“You lot have it easy these days”
That’s what the adults of our generation repeatedly say to us as we silently build up frustration within ourselves.
Our teenagers don’t have it as easy as you may think. Yes, we might get more pocket money, have better gadgets and get more holidays abroad. But maybe, just maybe it isn’t all that simple.
With the rise of social media and the use of apps like Instagram and Snapchat, young people feel more pressured to fit in with others. Feeling like they have to wear the same clothes, makeup and have that perfect ‘summer body’. We have role models like Kim Kardashian along with the latest stars from Love Island. Boys feel like they have to go the gym and girls, have to get the new Kylie Jenner lip kit. And if you don’t have an Instagram account then… well that’s another matter within itself. Our peers and role models undeniably cause teenagers to feel less worthy. It’s almost like life is becoming a competition of materialism.
When it comes to academics, teenagers are pushed to excel in ways that only a few did 30 years ago. With the expectation of good GCSE grades leading onto A levels and university further down the line, young people have to constantly worry about their futures at an incredibly young age. University was virtually unheard of in working class backgrounds but now it’s becoming the ‘standard’. It often makes me wonder if all of this pressure is doing us any good?
A thing that teenagers find frustrating is that we are often expected to be ‘adult like’. We’re encouraged to taker responsibility for things despite being treated like children. Confusing. A lot of the time when speaking to adults, you’re made to think that your opinions aren’t valid simply because of your age despite you having more/better qualifications than them. Yes, life experiences teach you a lot but allowing teenagers to form their own opinions on things won’t cause any harm.
Teenagers often understand the struggles that adults had as teenagers. I think that teenagers would like adults to understand theirs too. At the end of the day, disregarding problems won’t solve anything.
Recently, I finished my first year at sixth form (equivalent to 11th grade). Towards the latter part of the year, especially after my exams, I began to reflect and realise that I have learned a lot of general life lessons along the way. I have also learned a lot about myself and how to better myself as a human being. Using the knowledge that I now have, I can hopefully use it positively to excel academically and as a person in year 13 and further on in life.
So, here are a few lessons that I have learned along the way:
This first lesson applies especially to people that have moved schools to go to a new sixth form or college. You will certainly meet new people, make new friends and maybe even form new friendship groups. My advice for this would be to be yourself. Theoretically, at the start of the school year, you can really reinvent yourself and start presenting yourself in a way that reflects you as an individuality. When going to sixth form, I feel as though you can really be who you want to be without being judged. In school before, everybody had to wear the same uniform, study the same subjects, have the same hairstyles etc. Whereas in sixth form, it’s an opportunity for you you to express your individuality and differences to everyone else. With being yourself, you will automatically have a happier lifestyle and positive outlook on things as you won’t have to worry about conforming to social norms.
Stay in contact with old friends
Staying in contact with old friends is so important. These are likely to be friends that you have had friendships with for years at your previous schools. It wouldn’t make sense to loose contact with them simply because you don’t get the opportunity to seen them as often as you used to. Your old friends will also be great for when you’re feeling down and need somebody to talk to. They are the friends that will know you better than any of your new friends that you have made. Furthermore, they are likely to be the ones who care the most about you, so letting go of those particular old friends would be a silly mistake.
Let go of old friends
Yes, this is a complete contradiction to my previous point. However, when moving to sixth form, you will need to let go of some old friends. My advice would be to loose the ones that don’t support you as much as you would like, the ones that have a negative outlooks on life and the ones who were only your friends because they attended the same school as you in the first place. These “friends” will no longer benefit you in life and as savage as it may sound, you will have to cut them off at some point.
Your mental health is important
Mental health is always something that is brushed under the carpet. It’s rarely ever spoken about for no logical reason what so ever. Yet, your mental health/state is probably the most important thing that is going to get you through year 12. Being able to grow as a person, learn new things and deal with the workload will be so much easier if you are in a good mental state. Having a huge work load can undoubtedly cause stress and if you are one of those students that is able to keep a positive attitude all year round then I definitely take my hat off to you. With that, just remember that your well being is important and it isn’t something that should be ignored. I advice discussing your problems (if you have any) instead of hiding them away to try come across as strong. It’s also okay to feel down or cry. Take a day off sick if you need to. But remember, you’re not the only one going through the same thing and many have been in your position before. You’re not alone.
Don’t feel obliged to get into a relationship
By all means make new friends, have a crush on one or two people but don’t feel as though you need to get into a relationship. If you feel as if you have found someone that you can have a future with then by all means get into the relationship (but don’t rush it). I would also advise not to get into a relationship for the sake of it. If you know it’s right then go for it. Besides, boys/girls ain’t shit.
Year 12 has been the most challenging year whilst in education for me so far. I would definitely say that time management is crucial. Time management will determine on whether you hand your homework/coursework in on time, whether you get your revision done in time and whether you are doing equally as well in all of your subjects as oppose to failing one and getting A’s in another. Try and stick to a schedule. I myself do athletics at a high level outside of school which means that I have to train/compete several times a week. Sticking to a schedule is honestly the best way to get your work done in time. Wiring a to-do list will also be very satisfactory once everything is ticked off.
These were just a few lessons that I have learned over the past 11 months that can be used as tips for anyone going into yer 12. Hopefully, I will be able to go onto year 13 and learn many more lessons and use past ones to my advantage.