There are many possibilities on how to start writing this article. Indeed I’ve deleted and rewritten this opening sentence several times. And I guess that in itself comes to the heart of my story for you today. To embrace possibilities is possibly the most scariest and rewarding thing you can do as a young person.
My name is Loren and I am a firm believer in the fact there are always possibilities. Always. Let me explain.
A quick google search of possibilities quotes brings up 79,400,000 results which in itself is a lot of options. One that stood out to me is a quote by Cesar Millan, who is a Mexican dog trainer according to Wikipedia, Millan said
‘I’m open for possibilities. I’m open to choices, I always welcome new ideas. I’m always eager to learn’.
For me, this sums up the joys of possibilities, which is often, the joys of life.
Nothing is set in stone. There is always a chance to grow, to make mistakes and then learn valuable lessons from those mistakes. In fact, that very stone will erode and expand with the opportunities each new weather front brings.
I remembered vividly, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, in an overly air-conditioned room being told, I would never achieve GCSEs because I’d missed too much school. And because of that I’d never go to university or get a ‘good’ job (whatever that means). I internalised this and lived this out for years. In a typical self-fulling prophecy way. I figured I’d never move on from the deep rut I found myself in.
I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this way? If schoolwork is piling up and you can’t see a way around it. If you’re in the same routine for months, and it seems never-ending. If lockdown means all your plans are slipping away.
It’s hard, right?
But I’ve found these places are where the most reward possibilities lay. Seeking possibilities is a mindset. Let me use my favourite TV show as an example.
During the lockdown, I binge-watched (at least) 7 episodes of Derran Brown. One episode stood out to me, it was about luck. To save me telling you why EVERYONE should watch Derren Brown, ill summaries it: luck is an outlook. If you think you can do something if you are open and don’t give up easily, with a bit of creativity there are suddenly possibilities everywhere.
The dictionary definition of possibilities is ‘a thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternates. There is always something to be done in a situation. Always room to change things, to improve, to get lucky.
And now that my mini TED talk about the value of having possible is over, ill speak about the other side. The ‘help-I-dont-know-what-to-do’ feeling that often couples possibilities.
Indeed you might have followed what told you so far, and see an ocean of possibilities and options in front of you and, then, suddenly a wave of dread fills you.
Choosing possibilities is daunting. Am I making the right choice? Should I go to University? What should I study? I want to go abroad but what if it goes wrong? What should I do next in the wide ocean with hundreds of routes, and ships, and islands?
I could go on and on with the possibilities I could act on now or could have acted on previously.
But let me reassure you, the scariest options are often the best. That moment you tiptoe out of your comfort zone is often when you start to experience the adventure of life properly.
I highly recommend googling ‘making choices for young people’ there are a surprising number of resources to help you. I was drawn to the childline’s website (partly due to the nice graphics) but also there was good advice. The advice I wish someone had told me when I was sitting in an overly air-conditioned room.
1) No-on makes the right decision all the time.
In fact, I’d take this a step further, there are no right decisions. Whatever you do in a situation is the right thing for you. Own it. Make your own path.
2) Talking to someone can help.
Very true, find a willing family member, bribe them with chocolate (optional) and vent. Talk through all the options and work it out together. You’re not alone
3) Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help make things clear.
Also true. I like to write pottery, especially since lockdown, but drawing, writing a blog, making an Instagram story that you’ll never show anyone are all good steps
4) Don’t panic.
Thanks to childline we have now explored how to overcome the anxiety of possibilities. Below I will add the link if you are at a crossroad with possibilities.
As part of writing this, I spoke to a young(er) person who had a ‘cool idea’ “if you’re scared of the possibilities, you shouldn’t be, be more scared of the possibilities you don’t take”. He has a point.
Turning the idea on its head for a second, taking possibilities and opportunities is the safer bet. At least you know, at least you haven’t closed any doors.
In the words of Friedrick Nietzsche ( a thelopsher, phycologist and all-round interesting, if slightly controversial guy) “A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us”. It’s important to know with any possibles there are risks, it could shatter us, right? But just as there are risks with walking to the corner shop or not looking at your credit score. At least you’ve tried. and you never know,
It could transform you.
Possibilities is a topic that I’m passionate about (as you might have guessed) because for me possibilities mean hope. And hope is quite possibly the best quality to have.
I hope I can continue to write articles about the things I’ve learned through my non-conventional journey. (which is a whole other story, remind me to tell you later). I’d love to connect to anyone reading this. to answer any questions, suggestions, thoughts or feelings. And to remind you that there is always hope, always luck to be found and always a horizon of possibilities open for you.
By Loren Townsend-Elliott
Special thanks to Sipho
Link to Childline website