Sunday, March 18, 2012

SPECIAL : The Key to Success


People spend their time reading "Success for Dummies," buying items that are associated with success in advertisements... even going to lectures from life coaches on how to reach your ultimate potential. Skip all the above. What you need to know is this, and this alone, for the ultimate version of you: confidence and passion. As obvious as these two qualities sound reading them now, I think you'd be surprised how often we forget to rely on them, or strengthen them. The reason why I started Unleashed was in the hopes that all readers could become inspired so much so that they might realize their own confidence and passions.

Someone close to me once said, "Sasha, if you smile before doing something you're nervous about... there's nothing you won't be able to achieve. If you're about to give a speech? Just smile." So, here I was, standing before a crowd, facing one of my worst fears: public speaking. And, what did I do? I smiled. One, quick, wide smile. My racing heart, my butterflies, my shallow breathing all moved aside for this smile. And, still with the smile's odd gift of adrenaline, drive and confidence I made one of the best speeches I've ever given. This may seem small in comparison to life changes, but it's all baby steps  tiptoeing toward a snowball effect. 

Confidence is the key here. If you walk into a room and tell yourself, "ok, I look great. If someone doesn't think so? They don't have to look at me. I'm me, and that's who I'm always going to be. I'm myself. If people can't accept that, they don't have to, but it doesn't affect me," etc. A little pep talk reminding yourself of the fact that, in the long run, acceptance and beauty doesn't matter. It's living without worries of disappointing, living for yourself, that matters. Living enjoying other people, not worrying they'll reject you because of silly things you obsess over in your head (we all do this, it's OK). So, you do this, and walk into that room, and I guarantee you that all heads will turn in your direction. Because you will radiate beauty from the inside out. You will sparkle. You will light up the room.

I even made an experiment once to test this. Marilyn Monroe was walking down the street with her friend, back in the day, and her friend noticed that no one passing by realized it was Marilyn who was walking just beside them. She asked Marilyn why this was-- "aren't you one of the most famous women there is?"Marilyn smiled, whispering, "want me to switch 'Her' on?" And, with that, Marilyn lifted her eyes to the oncoming crowd, smiling, and exuding her stage-presence confidence. And, voila! Every head turned with shouts of--"Can I have an autograph?!" and "Marilyn, sweet jesus, Marilyn!!!" I read this, and was immediately interested. Does confidence, even if this confidence is just a shell, really make that much of a difference? Walking down Telegraph, I experimented. From Dwight to Campus, I thought of all the things that made me self-conscious without trying to change the way I appeared to people (aka. constantly thinking about what other people thought). I got a few glances, but not that many. On the way back, however, I lifted my head, didn't make eye contact with a single person and simply exuded this Marilyn-esque confidence. What happened? I kid you not, every single head turned. In my direction. That doesn't make me special or especially beautiful either. That has nothing to do with the reactions I received. It was the confidence that drew people in. 

I used to be extremely self-conscious, taking everything personally and over analyzing things to the point of exhaustion (aka. teenage girl). What I realized, after a series of humbling moments, is that none of this matters. If I have one hair askew, one zit (ewww), didn't run that day, what have you, it's not going to affect my life. If someone really cared about any of those things, they aren't worth me caring in return. At a certain point, I realized that I had to grow up. The world doesn't revolve around me  enough to care whether or not I'm perfect, especially since no one really is (sorry Victoria's Secret models, that includes you). And, you know what? I think that my imperfections are truly what make me beautiful. And, I believe that about everyone else too. It's what makes you unique. And, personality? A good personality is honestly the sexiest thing. The point is that there is no point worrying about the insecurities you cannot change. Embracing life and all it has to offer, without this constant worry in your head however silent you think it is, is the only way to truly enjoy life to its fullest. Let go, breath, and have fun. Honestly, you'll be ten times more sexy for it too. Guys are much more attracted to girls who are obviously comfortable in their own skin (this includes being yourself, and loving your body). If there are two girls standing next to each other, one really good looking and the other a little less so? If the second has the confidence and passion about life to spark her words and her approach to people and life? Who do you think will outshine the other? The one who actually enjoys, or at least takes interest in, the world (and herself) for what it is. 

As for passion, what is life without it? If you are not passionate, what is there to look forward to besides instant gratification? Right, not a whole lot. If you are passionate about one thing (many things!), not only will this spark your life and put you in a place of an empowered high, so much so that you can feel the smartest you've ever been, but it will also spread to the people around you. It's contagious-- a bit like yawning. Before you realize it completely, you will be surrounded in one big symbiotic relationship. Rather than being stuck in a rut, you will be constantly fueled forward, ready to explore the world. You will constantly be stimulated by the environment around you, interested in the world and the way things interact-- the way you interact with these things as well. And, what will this lead to? Introspection! 

Do you see the waves of positivity here? Introspection leads to a calm, true confidence. Because, if you think long and hard enough? You'll realize that, hey, you only live once. The times you fuck up? You fuck up. And, you fix it. And, you work to be a better person always. But, in the mean time? You're beautiful (handsome), and if someone else doesn't think so... this is the time to realize the: who cares!? If you love yourself, so will everyone else. And, if one person doesn't, if one person thinks less of you, if one person doesn't think you're all that attractive (although I doubt this will happen)? Who cares! What counts is that you love yourself. Because, when in the movies, the actor says "it's you and me baby, you and me" to his lover? Well, I think we both know that won't always be the case, whether it be a bad break up or nature that runs its course. Either way, at one point you will feel alone. And, who will love you then? Exactly. You will. And, that is when you know you've reached the ultimate success.

    The Woman Behind Unleashed and the Words                       
   I am a Practice of Art Major and Creative Writing Minor at UC Berkeley. My passions are writing and the arts in general. I created Unleashed for the empowerment and enlightenment of women everywhere. I am the editor, designer and contributing writer. I truly hope this magazine speaks to each and every woman.  Sasha Martin      

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