The first time I held a talk in English I got everything wrong.
It was a big mess. I humiliated myself in front of 40+ people.
When it was my turn to present, everybody started laughing and I didn't know why.
And it lasted for a few minutes.
I had no clue what was going on.
When I was done with the presentation my team mates told me that I said the exact same thing the guy before me said already.
That's how nervous I was. I didn't even realize that I was repeating the same stuff.
And nobody told me about my mistake while I was presenting.
Everybody was just laughing and giggling. And I felt like getting smaller and smaller every minute.
I felt like running away. But I couldn't.
It took another five years or so until I made the next presentation in front of a large audience.
That's how scared I was.
I was a very decent student back in high school.
But there was one subject I particularly sucked at. And it was writing. I totally sucked at it. I was among the worst students in my class. Always.
Be it an essay, a report, analyzing poetry or what not. I never got a good grade.
I almost failed high school at one point because of this. That's how bad I was.
After graduating from high school it took me more than 10 years to write again (except for a few tests maybe).
That's how scared I was.
Now fast forward a few years, a lot of people tell me that my writing inspires them (and a lot tell me they hate it).
The other day I received an email from someone that attended three of my talks. And she said she loved my talks and felt very inspired.
Well, OK, at first she hated me.
She thought I was a complete asshole after the first two talks.
But I was able to change her mind after the third time.
So what's my point here?
What I'm trying to say is that we often build prisons for ourselves that are based on past experiences.
Bad experiences. Miserable experiences. Broken hearts. Hardships. Tragedies. Failures.
But the truth is that what happened yesterday is most probably not true anymore today.
That we can turn our past weaknesses, our past failures into success.
Unfortunately, most of the times we get so used to these prison walls that we simply accept them as part of our lives.
No way out.
And we stay locked up in these prisons for many years. Sometimes forever.
Just like I, for many years, stayed imprisoned in the belief that I'm bad at writing.
That I suck as a speaker.
Until I realized that the walls that once seemed indistructable are only paper thin..