Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Risk Taking

解放する (kaihou suru) - To release or let out

Today was the first class for our communications course. At the beginning of the class, the professor really pushed home the idea that he wanted us to challenge ourselves and take risks in the class. We had also all been asked to prepare a 2-3 minute speach on "Who I Am" and encouraged to go beyond just the standard introduction. I'd written something simple about the path that lead me to Japan, but it was hardly putting myself out there. Normally I'm a pretty risk averse guy but, as I sat there listening to the professor speak, an idea for a much more personal topic started to form in my head. I couldn't decide what to do.

We split into smaller groups and started giving our speeches, some of which were pretty touching. When it came to my turn, I got up and told the GSI about the two options I was weighing: the prepared but conservative speech or the personal but unscripted one in my head. He told me to go with the riskier choice. I ripped up my note card for the speech I'd written, took a minute to gather my thoughts, and just had a go at the new idea. I spoke with total honesty about personal weaknesses that I wanted to change during my two years at Haas, things I had never told anyone else. The speech itself was hardly a masterclass in public speaking, but I thought it went quite well. More importantly, it felt liberating, even a little cathartic.

I won't go into detail about what I said, but one of my goals I talked about is to become more outgoing. It's something I've struggled with for a long time and am truly desperate to change. Since moving out here, I've been making a conscious effort to improve at it and have done alright, but it certainly hasn't been easy. Today has me wondering if taking a little more risk and putting myself further out there might help in that regard.

1 comment:

  1. Cool stuff. One of the reasons I stayed in college for a long time is related to this, to re-inventing yourself: every new semester is a new group of people who don't know you, so you can be who you want to become. It also happens when you change jobs - you get the job based on what they know about you, but you get to fill out the details whatever way you want. As you say, it's liberating!