Skip to main content
Arts + Social Sciences › Linguistics
SFU Student

Picture of Jingyao
The paths to pursuing our goals will not always be as painful as people usually think. It wasn’t until I started doing these things that I realized that I could live fully.

I used to be very shy, a person who dared not speak to new people. Public speaking terrified me, even worse than getting an injection. As both an introvert and a sentimental person, I admired people who could just get out there and form friendships. I love SFU and the people here; I love getting engaged in our community. I kept telling myself: you have to overcome your shyness! Become a great communicator! Become a competent helper! So, I started to work on my goals and I soon realized that speaking to people is much better than getting an injection!

If you identify with my story, then here are some tips that helped me reach my goals, and I hope they will help you to work on your goals – whatever they may be -- while enjoying your life.

1. Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

When you step out of your comfort zone, you give yourself an opportunity to experience something new, and to achieve things that you didn’t think were possible. I remember applying for a job that I didn’t think I could get. I still applied even though I didn’t expect a reply. Luckily I got an invitation for an interview. At first, I was very happy but then I started to panic. “I’m too shy!” I thought. I even considered giving up and not attending the interview, but I told myself: “you won’t lose anything even if you fail to succeed in the interview.” Eventually, I went to the interview and it was not as scary as I had thought. Again unexpectedly, I got the job. Every time uncertainty causes us to feel butterflies in our stomach, we can instead celebrate that sensation with a smile, because we grow by taking steps regardless of the outcome. 

2. Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well

Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great start but it’s not enough. Anything you try, anything you start doing is worth doing well. Even though I thought I was not going to get that job, I didn’t just throw a bunch of mindless words in my application nor did I fail to prepare for the interview. Instead, I spent an entire day writing my application, and I went to the interview location early, just to make sure that I would not get lost. There are things that we cannot control like the weather or other people’s attitude and decisions, but there are things that we can manage well by ourselves. Every time I attend an interview or deliver a presentation, I conduct a lot of research and prepare well, even though I may not use it all and even though I may still seem like an idiot when the time comes. But when you head in the direction of doing well, you are getting closer to your goals, and you will eventually get there.

3. There are Times That we can Make Fun of Ourselves 

There are good times and bad times; there are times of failure and times of success. We sometimes regret when we look back at our past, and think that we should have done it better. But we can also laugh at ourselves in a positive and funny way! I remember one time I was stuck in the middle of a presentation. That was such an extremely awkward moment. I saw some people giggling, but I told myself: you are a great “laughter maker”! When we openly admit our weaknesses, we become confident enough to joke about ourselves, to embrace awkward times and turn them into happy times. Then, regardless of whether we fail or succeed, we will never run out of the happy tastes in life. When we are doing our best and stumbling along as we go, we can tell people that we are just dancing and practicing with the rhythm!

4. Treating Failures as a Breeze, and Working on your Goals Persistently

There are times when we get rejected, and even when we get an opportunity, we may find it awkward when we first start doing things. Rejection or awkwardness may hurt, but why don’t we treat it as a breeze? I remember a time I worked hard but I didn’t do well on my midterm. That really hurt me in that moment but it quickly turned into a breeze that opened the windows and flowed into my world, giving me fresh air and telling me that I was going to have to put in more effort than others in order to rebuild my new record. From then on, I worked even harder than before, I was even thinking about the class in my dreams, and once I woke up in the midnight when I figured something out! Things worked out and I got full marks in my final assessment. Our goals are never achieved with one move in a few days. If one trial doesn’t succeed, try a second time, a third time, or even hundreds and thousands of times, and you will eventually get there. When you look back at the failures that you made, they do not even look like failures; they are the very energy that is pushing you closer to your goals. 

5. Not Only Doing What you Love, but Also Loving What you do

It’s much easier to do what we love than love what we are doing. Doing what you love is like being together with your lover: it just happens very naturally. But you can get bored with doing what you love. You may find the imperfections in your lover down the road. Loving what you are doing is an ability to accept their imperfections and perceive their beauties. Even if you have no special feelings about something, you can try different angles and discover the happiness that exists in it. In that way, we can even enjoy cleaning the streets because we are protecting the environment while appreciating nature; we can even enjoy staying up late for writing a rather lengthy essay because we are thoughtfully expressing our ideas; we can also unchangeably love the things or people that we love and regard their imperfection as another beauty. Loving what you are doing can always keep you energetic and allow you to gain endless happiness from your life.

The paths to pursuing our goals will not always be as painful as people usually think. It wasn’t until I started doing these things that I realized that I could live fully. I wouldn’t say that I’ve completely overcome my shyness, but I’m becoming a much stronger communicator! I’ve been helping others find their own inner enthusiastic heart and in turn, has made me a better me. On the way of achieving goals, there are not only sweats but also sweets, as well as poems and flower scents. There is an old saying that goes: no pain, no gain. I would like to change it to my version: gaining while enjoying!

Beyond the Blog

SFU Student
Jingyao Li is an SFU student studying Linguistics, and she has also joined the Translation and Interpretation program at UBC. Over the past few years she has been working with individuals as a Linguistics Tutor, a Mandarin Tutor, and a Peer Educator. She enjoys helping people build confidence in their ability to achieve, both academically and socially. In her spare time, she likes traveling around Vancouver to discover the various beauties that exist in this city. Her hobbies include learning languages, appreciating cultures, creating happiness, and enjoying life!
visibility  120
May 31, 2016

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Hands holding a volunteer badge
Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

You Might Like These... Interviews

conference table with empty chairs
Co-op Employer Identifies Interviewing Weaknesses

You've always heard about how to prepare for interviews from your peers and your coordinators, but what about from an employer? Kim Steinbart of the BC Forest Service discusses common interview mistakes and provides tips on how to put your best foot forward.

News article of bc public service
Myths and Tips of What You Can Do In Government

There are many myths that are prevalent about working in government, whether it is at the federal, provincial or municipal level. But do these myths actually hold any truth? Read on to find out more, and to also discover a fantastic event opportunity to network with government representatives from all levels!

A wiener dog sitting in a box.
Lessons Learned After Moving Out During a Global Pandemic

Moving out during COVID was a daunting prospect, but taking that leap of faith has led me to having the best semester since before the pandemic. The skills I learned from this experience have helped me find balance even when life throws challenges my way.