Own My Growth

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What Feels Obvious To You May Be Valuable For Others


My younger son has just entered 12th grade. For him, it is the season for writing his personal statements for admission into Universities for his undergraduate program. And for my wife and me, it is the season for critically evaluating and giving him feedback about what he has written about himself. As you can imagine, there are many high-pitched arguments about what is being written and how it is written.

One of the interesting points of debate is how my son chooses not to present some activities/experiences. Because he believes they are not obvious and not worthy of being captured in the personal statement.

It could be something as innocuous as a lab experiment, and our conversation goes like this.

“I don’t want to include that lab in my personal statement. I think what I did was simple, and there is nothing special about it.” He says.

And I say “You did something unique; it was your idea, you did the entire experiment on your own, and I am sure when you think deeply, you can derive some powerful learnings from the experiment you did. So it could be valuable for you to include it in your statement.”

I am sanitizing the tone of the conversation on both sides, but you get the general drift, I am sure !!.

Reflecting on this conversation with my son, I remember a blog post by Derek Sivers, a celebrated new age entrepreneur, and thinker. The title of the blog post was Obvious to you. Amazing to others. 

Whenever it comes to sharing ideas, content creation of any sort, making videos, writing blog posts, personal statements, etc., many of us tend to hold ourselves back, thinking that whatever we have to share is obvious. We believe “surely everyone would know about it, there is nothing special about it.” But when someone else comes across the idea, they think it’s very profound or game-changing. I had the same feeling when I read Derek Sivers Blogpost. The message in the post may feel obvious for some, but when I read it, I thought, “wow, this is such an incredible idea that makes for a beautiful mental model.

What feels obvious to me can be a game-changer for someone else. So, I should not be afraid or self-critical of my own ideas.”

In Derek Sivers words- “We’re clearly bad judges of our own creations. We should just put them out there and let the world decide.”

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