All in the Mind

A couple of days ago I learned a new (to me) Japanese proverb (kotowaza) which goes:


(anzuru yori umu ga yasushi)

According to Jim Breen’s dictionary, this proverb means:

The anxiety that comes from doing nothing is worse than any danger you might face.

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Interestingly, when I did a Google search on this I stumbled upon this Amazon link, where it appears that another simpler translation would be:

Things are easier than you think.

Right now, I’m at this point where I’ve no choice but to face head-on this so-called 二重壁 (nijuu kabe, or double-barrier wall) in my career. The double-barrier referring to being a foreigner and a woman in the workplace, in a male-dominated field, and where there are very few role models around. Why would anyone care if I succeed or not?

On the other hand, being different somehow has its merits – one of these is that people pay more attention (perhaps more than necessary), which could force you to rise up to the occasion and perform your best. I for one know that I really perform well under pressure. But it could also backfire in a way, because it could lead to unnecessary pressure and ultimately, lead to failure. I hate failure as much as anyone else, and this adds to more anxiety.

You see, it’s not enough to be “as good as” the others. You just have to be the better than everyone else to justify your mere presence. And yet, I’m willing to bet, that being better does not even entail 100% acceptance. There will always be some form of resistance just because you’re different. This is the reality of the world we live in.

If it is true, that things are indeed easier than one thinks, then perhaps there is a way to overcome all these obstacles, real or imagined.

If i could find a way to surmount all these obstacles in my mind, then perhaps the rest will follow.

Time for a paradigm shift.

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