It is almost impossible to find time away from information sources like TV, phone, advertisements, or even your friends and family in this modern society. Can you put yourself in a place that has no information at all—you alone, just yourself? If not, you should try—finding this quiet mental space will let you to practice listening to yourself. It is a wonderful way to find out who you truly are. Our society has become so loud that it is very difficult to listen to your own voice and extremely easy to lose it.
I am an international student from a very small town in Japan, and I am the first one among my family members to study abroad. When I told people that I decided to come to the United States to study, every single one of them was shocked and gave me their advice. Some said Americans are very bossy and tend to look down on people. Some said I would not be able to find any jobs there.
It does not matter who you are and what type of circumstances you are in. You will get some comments and advice no matter what you do.
Was the advice people gave me accurate? I’m sorry, but mostly, no. People I met in the United States were nice, and the advice I received really depended on whether or not the person looked down on others. Am I struggling with finding a job? No. My major in accounting provides me more opportunities than I can take. Looking back on the comments from my friends and family, I am very grateful that I was able to see what I truly wanted and stick with my decision.
The reason I could tune out those negative voices was not because I am lucky or intelligent. It is because I listened to myself—my own voice. However, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t listen to others. I considered what people said to me and I understood them. I just didn’t agree with them, which was the most difficult part. In the process of building my own decisions, many pieces of advice actually helped me and I made some changes based on the advice from others combined with my own thoughts.
Why was I able to stick to my decision so tight and live the life I wanted? It’s because I talked to myself and asked myself millions of questions.
“What do I want in my future?”
“Do I really need it or just want it?”
“Am I where I wanted to be? Yes? No? Why?”
“Where am I going?”
“What am I doing?”
“What would happen if I do this?”
“Why am I doing it?”
It is difficult, frustrating, and time-consuming to find your raw voice in this very noisy society, but in doing so you will get through life with minimal regret and confidence in who you are and what you are doing. Pull yourself away from the massive amount of information, talk to some people, understand them (never ignore them), and then talk with yourself. This is your life, and you cannot run away from yourself forever. You’d better learn how to listen to yourself and be able to stick with your own thoughts even after accepting what other say.