“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And more important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
These words of Steve Jobs; a prodigious man in the field of technology, are indeed so relevant as we explore the wonders of the 21st century. The lofty ideals of great men like him, have widely contributed to global change and shaped the minds of teenagers; such as I. Steve Jobs dropped out of college because he chose to acknowledge his own wishes, rather than the desires of his biological parents which eventually led to the creation of Apple Inc. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team as he was believed to be average. But he too, followed his heart and ended up being the most celebrated player in basketball history. In both cases, embracing a passion led to greatness.
On a more personal level, when I was 11 years old, one of my peers introduced me to a UK based television series about solving medical mysteries; House M.D. She always praised the lead character; Dr. House and claimed to want to grow up to be exactly like him. On watching a few episodes, I became addicted, and so to say, obsessed with the idea of becoming a doctor. I kept thinking how cool it’d be to become a doctor; just like my friend. My friend and I weren’t that close, but after sharing this major common interest, we became inseparable. Slowly, I started doing everything she did and eventually, lost my own voice. If she didn’t play basketball, I didn’t play basketball. If she didn’t listen to country music, neither did I. The cycle, went on and on. My obsession with being a doctor grew and the various aspirations I had were slowly buried. Until, one day, I saw my mother painting, and I was immediately drawn to the vibrant colors seeping into the canvas. I pestered her to teach me a few strokes, and soon, I had started painting every day. I stopped going out with my friends just so I could finish my personal masterpiece. Eventually, the contact between me and the friend I used to depend on the most, broke. And, I realized that I actually didn’t want to be a doctor. I wanted to be an engineer, an artist, an athlete and a singer. This period of my life taught me something that no textbook was ever able to; Cherish your own voice; your own opinion.
What happened to me, happens to teenagers and even adults, every single day. We listen so closely to what other people say, that we forget to speak for ourselves. Although getting influenced by your peers and surroundings seems like a small issue, it has become a colossal global concern in the 21st century. I was lucky, that my experience in this sense only changed a small part of me and that I had parents to encourage me to try new and healthy things. Many other people in this world, are not so fortunate. Young teenagers with fragile minds are getting influenced by the thoughts and actions of others. They are indulging in alcohol and drugs every day, engaging in dangerous activities and even committing crimes, because the people around them are burying that tiny voice that echoes in their hearts, and tells them to do the right thing. They are becoming depressed and empty, because the satisfaction they would get from doing what they love, is entirely non-existent. Moreover, young minds are not being instilled with the courage to do what they want. Personally, I feel that the youngsters in this time and age have such weak and penetrable minds; when they should be strong-willed and bold, owing to the modern world around us. Taking my own example, my mind could’ve blocked out another person’s opinion and I could’ve spoken up if I had been prepared. If only, I would’ve found the courage to think about my own future earlier. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future, is to create it”, we must have the courage to follow our heart, our intuition, our passions and stand up for ourselves, in this very moment. Only then, can we contribute to making a global change. A tiny step taken for the well-being of ourselves such as; pursuing what we truly love, without someone else’s opinion about it, is a tiny step which can lead to true happiness.
Sometimes, to do what you love, you may have to make huge sacrifices, you may be judged and you may even go wrong. But, we must make an effort. That effort, starts with listening to our inner voices and taking flight towards our dreams and constantly keeping our goals in mind. Only then can we make a better future for ourselves, and encourage others to do the same.