So, any of you who follow the old Twitter account I had two years ago (good riddance, I wrote some stupid stuff on that Twitter) know that I’m a huge Paramore fan. A while back, the band’s lead singer, Hayley Williams, came up with this catchphrase called B.O.Y., which stands for “beware of you.” Here’s how she explained it on her tumblr:
“I came up with it cause I wanted something that reminded me that I have the ability… power… (whatever you want to call it)… to build myself up or tear myself down. I’ve done an incredible job at doing both. And it’s my choice which one I want to be better at.”
This philosophy really inspires me, especially at this point of my life. I liked it so much I even bought the shirt (links to Paramore’s official store, not affiliated with me), which I’m a little too obsessed with. Why is it so relevant to me? Well, right now it’s relevant because I’m in college, where everyone is thinking about careers and ambition, and to get what you want, you’ve really got to fight for it, because no one else is gonna do it for you. But, really, it’s relevant to everyone, in almost every situation.
“B.O.Y.” spoke to me because I think the main reason people fail is they get in their own way. Lots of people have shown amazement that I’m writing my third novel (I usually remind them that length is no indicator of quality, so while I thank them for their compliment, I hope they don’t assume the books are good before reading them), and express that they admire the ability to sit down and write something of such length. I’ve also heard people comment that they’re “writing” their own book as well, and have been for five years, and actually, they’re still prewriting, but they’re gonna write chapter one eventually, they just have to make sure everything’s perfect first…
If you wanna write a novel, write it. If you want to act, taking acting classes. If you want to make bicycles for a living, hell, find someone who does that and learn from them. Because more often than not, people say they want to do something, and then they stand in their own way. Most of the time, they don’t realize they’re doing it–if they did, they’d probably do something about it. Instead, they blame outside obstacles–“I don’t have enough time” or “I never have the energy to do anything because I don’t get enough sleep.” If you really want to do something, you make time for it. Really, your schedule’s so packed that you can’t sit down and write a page or something? What about that hour you spent watching Dance Moms? Was that crucial to your daily routine?
Now, don’t get me wrong–it’s OKAY, even healthy to dedicate a portion of your day to doing something mindless and relaxing. Going at top-speed every second of the day could drive you crazy. That’s one reason I play video games. I hate most TV, so I use video games to relax. But if you find yourself spending hours surfing the Internet (guilty) on your off time, when you could be using that time to follow your dream, you’re getting in your own way. You could even use that relaxation time as a reward for putting in work if you need an extra motivational push–one hour of practicing guitar earns you an hour of Facebook, for example. I’m not saying I follow this rule perfectly, either. I just know that when I sit back on the couch and say, “Eh, I’m too tired to write/edit today,” it’s nobody’s fault but mine.
At this point, you might be reading this and thinking, “What do you know, Morgan? What are you, nineteen? You haven’t ever even had a real job. I, for one, am trying to find a job every day, and I still haven’t had any luck. How does that fall under the B.O.Y. philosophy?” Well, that’s different. What you have to ask yourself in this situation is, are you giving it your all? Are you job-hunting every single day without exception (unless an emergency/sickness calls for it)? If you can’t afford to drive all over the place for interviews, are you taking the bus instead? Are you swallowing your pride and applying to not-so-glamorous jobs so you can support yourself/your family until you get a job you want? If your answer to all these questions is yes, then you’re NOT getting in your own way. There’s a point where you’ve done everything you can and can still fail because of obstacles outside your control. If you’re an actor who put their all into every audition, was always friendly and polite, wasn’t afraid to audition for roles they didn’t particularly like, and you’re still out of work, you can fairly say, “I gave it my all.” Sometimes, there’s nothing we can do about a situation but bring our personal best to it, and if that doesn’t yield the results you want, you’ve still improved yourself.
There are exceptions like the ones I listed above, but the majority of people in first-world countries (at least the people I know) do have the time and resources to fight for what they want. And they don’t. They don’t seem to realize the reason they’re not a world-famous ice skater is because they’re not working toward that goal. It’s like they expect some sort of external push. The real world is not like grade school. If you start slipping away from your goal, the teacher doesn’t send your parents an e-mail saying, “I’m really worried about so-and-so’s eventual career as a doctor. Can we set up a conference so we can fix this?” Teachers give that wake-up call in grade school because you’re a kid. In the working world, you’re an adult. You should have the tools to motivate yourself by now.
So, unless you’re a single parent working two jobs just to care for your family (and if this is you, I admire you for working so hard and sacrificing so much for your kids), go out there and do the thing you’ve always wanted to do. You’re not gonna get what you want automatically–it might, and probably will, take years. But if/when you get there, you can say YOU did it. Nobody spoon-fed you the answers. You did the research, you invested your time, you did the work.
*Avatar by Charlavail