• Shiori Nakajima

A Year of Restructuring My mindset and My Life Towards the Right Direction

Updated: Feb 18, 2019

In the middle of 2016, I suddenly felt lost when I was sitting in the chair, replying to a client's inquiry at my office. It's been 6months since I graduated from university. I had been working as a sales associate at that time.


It was this urgent feeling of throwing everything away and running out of the office, going to somewhere that nobody knows me to restructure my career and everything.


"Am I going to spend my life like this?"


I felt like I was hanging off a cliff, desperately holding on rocks... but in reality, I had no idea I was holding onto.


"So, what am I doing here? To make a living that's for sure. But is that all what I wanted?"


I ended up in this dark place full of desperate feeling to do something meaningful and I didn't know what it is. It led to some self-destructive behavior and caused intense frustration within me.



A few days later, I was looking at some old pictures of my albums...to refresh my memory and what I had wanted to do when I was a kid.


I found a 15years old me and my grandmother, who had passed away the year later, laughing under the cherry-blossoms... when was the last time I laughed like that?


My passion towards international community, English learning, singing, dancing... had been always my fuel to be happy and feel fulfilled.


But my teenage years has gone. Now what? The quarter life crisis(which not exactly quarter because I was 23 but nearly) hit me hard.



Restructuring My Mindset


I had become more focused on self-help development after that. Browsing through tons of those ebooks, one title I stumbled upon...



In this book, Carol Ph.D talks about "Fixed mindset" and "Growth Mindset" and how those mindsets can be a trajectory of people's lives.


I would say I was a mix of both: I would feel as "a failure" when my test scores turned out not as much as I expected at school. At the same time, I had always been eager to learn choreographies that was required to attend at performance events in a dance club until I managed to do the move.


But after I graduated, it had become completely the Fixed mindset.


"What if I make mistakes if I challenge myself by doing this? What if I fail?"

"What would they think of me if I give them my opinion?"

and also, the feeling of falling behind among the other colleagues.


"The others learn so quickly, but in terms of me, I'm still half-way through than they are..."


Returning to the Core of Myself


After learning how to get the question to myself when I had the urgent feeling, the answer had become clearer- I want to pursue passion for myself, not others.


It had come down to the decision of my career and life shift. But all the things I had wanted was way beyond my fear: I would need to quit my job.


I don't write details of my journey here but something that I might write about in the future.



Strive for Progress, Not Perfection


I've now become a freelance English to Japanese translator. Along the journey, I've learned so many things about myself that I didn't expect to find, and people who have passions and missions towards what they do, and most importantly, I've gotten to see the world that I've never imagined before.


I know this is cheesy but because of these amazing people and experiences I know what it takes to pursue dreams and make it happen.


I always strive to learn from everything: whether it's my work performance, client's feedback, or other passions of mine: designing, coding, traveling, exploring new cultures, the experiences along the way...


and I realized that:

My mindset has started to change.


It felt like I've become that 15 years old myself again, who feels fulfilled and laughing with my grandmother like in that picture.


For the past year, I've decided to face my fear and anxieties and solve it through ways that I've never done before. This allows me to challenge myself, and of course I still have the instant fear of failing and wasting the time, but knowing that it's a part of my journey: I can learn from them and make improvements.


Because I’ve come to learn that no one is "perfect". That's always a reminder when I don’t see significant results and I want to give up. I have to admit, I do get that moment when I learn something new, but there is no point in blaming myself for not being "perfect"


Because it's a part of my learning process.



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Copyright © 2019 Shiori Nakajima
Freelance English to Japanese Translator