Once upon a time, there was an eagle that grew up with a group of chickens. He thought of himself as a chicken too, enjoying a routine life the same as everybody else. His master was very angry when trying various methods to get him to fly, but he couldn’t.
Finally, one day, his master brought him to the top of a mountain and threw him down the cliff. He was surprised, sad, and confused. He thought, “Oh God, my master is going to kill me, I don’t want to die.” While he was struggling, he opened up his wings and, all of the sudden, he felt a strong force that took him up. The more he extended his wings, the more he could rise. Well, he started to fly.
For the first time, he saw lots of different things: blue skies, white clouds, green trees, and gray. He felt freedom. Since then, he could never go back to the same life as a chicken – he could not stop flying.
Have you ever had a similar experience and feeling? Have you ever thought you might be an eagle? Getting thrown over the cliff by someone else may not have been a bad thing? I was.
I was a good student, in the typical Asian definition of “good student,” from the first day I went to school. Life was sweet, life was easy, life was smooth and successful all the time. I got used to school life, got used to listening to my Professor telling me what to do. The feeling of being praised by others felt really good.
I didn’t know what to do without school, but after finishing post-doctoral training, there was no more school. My life seemed to be stuck to an end. I did not really seriously look for a job because I didn’t know the world outside of school. While I was still dreaming of being a Professor, and staying in school, the school door was shut for me. I was kicked out by my Professor because the research funding was finally gone and the U.S. was facing 9/11 and the wars in Iraq, etc.
It was a black out world for me at that time. I could see nothing and didn’t know which way to go. I knocked on all the doors I could. And, for the first time, I learned how to write a resume. Thank God, I did not waste my time sleeping and crying at home. I went out to join various scientific conferences, met people, and learned something new. I also volunteered for various activities and enjoyed helping others. I experienced so many different things and explored a much bigger world. I also found many hidden talents that I didn’t know existed, which also surprised me a lot. I could never go back to my old life.
I ended up being an international regulatory professional in the medical device industry , which I had never dreamed or planned, even when I was studying regulatory science at USC. I wasn’t planning to work for industry at all. I have to say in this highly competitive job market, there is always somebody that has skills that are better than yours. So, if a door opens for you, take it, even if it is not what you saw yourself doing. First, you have to put yourself out there and let others choose you and not refuse any opportunities coming towards you.
In conclusion, believing in yourself is the way to success. Self–improvement means self–discovery and self–trust. If you don’t try, you will never know if you can. I hope that everyone does not suffer life as I did, but trust yourself and challenge yourself for new things which can bring you a new life. Although it takes tremendous courage and energy to get out of your comfort zone for something new and unknown, just try and just do it. There is nothing to regret if you put in the effort. Believing in yourself is the key to success.