Clearly, we aren’t. However, I propose that we are very much both the inventors and inventions.
A constant in my life is that I’ve always had to reinvent myself. I wanted to pursue an acting career at a very young age but it was a rather hard sell to my parents when it came to doing an arts programme post-O-Levels. I had to decide on the next step, one that I didn’t hate and had some semblance of passion for.
So I did what I thought stressed adults did, I went to the beach. I thought about what mattered to me and why. What was it about acting that pulled me towards it?
Two significant points arose from that retreat; I love giving a good experience, and I need to tell a story. I recalled when I was seven years old and my English teacher, Mrs Tan, said to me, ” Afiq, you’re very talkative.”
That was a BIG word; it must mean something positive! She probably identified my one skill. I took all of that and applied for a diploma in new media where I had hopes of being an installation artist. That was met with a different set of roadblocks. I graduated with general multi-media skills. I should have enlisted a mentor very early on. But there was a
I took what I had and set new goals. How else could I make great experiences? Advertising and public relations answered that need. I did a skills audit and realised that my knowledge in the medium should be complemented with content messaging skills.
So I took my next leap pursuing a generalist degree in Communications. Best years of my life.
And no. It wasn’t the parties or campus life which were both non-existent. It was the problem-solving. The literary reviews, late nights working on presentations. Coming together to achieve a goal!
Upon graduation, things had changed for me. I could no longer pursue a career in Public relations and Advertising due to certain “awakenings”. I’ve always used my skills as a measure of what my next step should be. This time around, I decided to look at the data of my life to inform me of my next step. That data was my values. Values inform our character and I needed to find a space that would acknowledge, apply and expand my characteristics. For the next step, I made fit a priority over competency.
Looking back, what I’ve learned is that although time may appear to be linear, and progress may seem like a rising line, the reality is that growth and change are multi-dimensional. Competencies grow and values change. At every pit stop of my life, I’ve had the opportunity to reinvent myself. I think its a privilege we all have.