So as you all may or may not know I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. And as you all may or may not also know, dentistry has also recently entered the picture like a sultry mistress.
So here’s how it happened. I was looking for a new job because I’d been meaning to quit my “amazing” job at You Studio Photography for about a year (I worked there for a year). I was on the USYD Career Hub page and applied for a million different jobs.
Long story short, with no previous dental assisting experience, I got a job as a dental nurse at a practice close to uni. I guess the dentist just decided to take a chance on an unknown kid.
Even though the dentist was a complete ass sometimes, I found dentistry quite-the-interesting. And seeing the amount of money he made on a daily basis didn’t hurt either.
A few months on, I found a similar job at another practice. This practice was much more modern, offered me a full time position, and now I’m working as a dental nurse/ practice manager (I’m a good multi tasker… said no one ever) for them. I’m quite enjoying the whole experience, and dentistry is becoming more and more appealing. Yet no part of me wants to let go of my childhood dream. So what do I do?
And to take an even bigger dump on my worries, there’s the GAMSAT in March, which I feel completely and utterly under-prepared for. I procrastinate because every time I open a book to study I see a big fat sign telling me I’m going to fail, and it’s just reminding me of the consequences if I do fail.
So what was the point of this story? Well a conversation with a friend actually helped me overcome my anxieties.
- Sometimes looking at the bigger picture isn’t the best thing.
We all have these major life goals we want to accomplish, and that’s all we see. They’re so far off in the future, and require so much work, that it becomes so easy to be depressed when our goals aren’t achievable in the immediate future. Admit it. We just want instant gratification.
Take me for example. I just want to hurry up and be a dentist or a doctor already. The fact that I’ve already spent 4 years at uni, and I’m still not a doctor or a dentist yet, has been incredibly depressing and demotivating. It kind of feels like my life is neither on track, nor going anywhere. Yet the fact that I’m not a doctor/dentist yet is inevitable. I knew from the start that I’d be at least 25 before I could graduate as either one of those professions.
The DL is: you need to break down your huge goal in to smaller goals. You need little milestones to make you feel like you’re at least doing something to achieve your dream. At the moment I have to study for the GAMSAT. Without a good GAMSAT score I can forget achieving my dream.
- Find a way to stay on target and actually work at your smaller goals.
After you’ve broken down your ultimate goal in to smaller goals, it’s still easy to procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by the fear of failure. You don’t want to work hard and then look like an ass when you fail.
The DL is: make a list of all the things you have to gain from working at your smaller goals. If you achieve your smaller goals does it mean you’ll one day get your giant mansion, huge income, and dream job? Then make a list of all the things you have to lose from working at your smaller goals. You’ll find it’s a very small list. The only thing you really have to lose is… nothing. Sure you might fail, but that leads me to my next point.
- It doesn’t matter if you fail because you’re doing this for YOU
We’re afraid of failing because we’re scared to make a fool of ourselves in the public eye. You don’t want to fail because your parents might be disappointed. Or you think your friends are secretly judging you. But take a second to think how you’ll feel about failing if no one knew you failed. If you were the only person who knew you needed to try again. Personally, I wouldn’t care so much. I would just pick myself up and try again.
This is the reason why I never tell people if I’m going for a driving test, or if I’m applying for a job. If I don’t get it, at least no one will know.
So maybe what you and I really need is to keep it all to ourself. Don’t brag to everyone about all the amazing things you want to accomplish. Sure it’s okay to seek some advice from friends regarding it, but remember, the more people you tell, the more you’ll fear failing.
If you’re not convinced, let me ask you this. Why are little kids so damn good at skiing, and doing other dangerous stuff, like learning back flips and s***. Because they’re not afraid to fall.
- Look at the bigger picture for a second.
Okay so I know I told you not to look at the bigger picture before… but just for a second look at the bigger picture. Compare say… one year’s of hard work and study to fifty years of feeling happy. That’s 12 months of being miserable compared to 600 months of happiness. And why will you be happy? Because you’ll have achieved your dream and the rest of your life will be rainbows and sparkles and unicorns (mostly).
Anyways, that’s my two cents.