"If you want to be a teacher, you have to teach."
Those were the words from my middle school teacher when I told her, "I want to be a teacher when I grow up." I never forgot them.
The first time I remember wanting to be a teacher, I was eight years old. I'd role play by bringing my dad's old briefcase and filled it with books, papers, and pencils. I'd have a small blackboard with colored chalks and I'd have my bears and dolls act as the students of my class. Those days made me curious if I will really become a teacher one day.
When I was sixteen, I started volunteering at the Special Education Program. I was a pretty good swimmer back then, so I taught the kids how to swim. I felt pride and fulfilled every time I taught. One day after a class, Mr. Pinto, the person in charge, put his hand on my shoulder and said: "You may have a talent for teaching."
I continued teaching the kids until I finished high school. In college, I also kept up. I became a teaching assistant for the Veterans Science Program. I had a big responsibility. I began to think myself as a teacher. I liked that feeling. But soon other interests-sports, graduate school, girls-crowded themselves into my life. Gradually, I taught less and less. I still yearned to be a teacher and so I began to feel guilty about not teaching.
To assuage my guilt, I told myself repeatedly that my other activities were "life experiences" and that I needed them to become the person I wanted to be. While actually I was building a structure of self-deception that many people live inside when they abandon their dreams. The funny thing was, I felt like I'm in the process of becoming someone. While actually I was doing nothing.
So many people fail to become what they want to be because they can't or won't find the time to get started. I've heard so many people say that one day, they will do what they always wanted to do: travel the world or start a business or write a book. And do you think I should feel happy, because I'm confident that one day they will accomplish their goal? Or sad, because I'm pretty sure they will never do it? Unfortunately, for many of us, the longer we wait, the less chance we will actually take the leap.
Many people feel that they can keep their dreams alive and achieve satisfaction from their dreams simply by living in a state of becoming. The truth is, we must refuse to accept that psychological credit and simply just choose to be.
I did that by teaching. Every day. And that's when I began to realize I'm living my dream.
The best part about being a teacher, I have discovered, is the process. And this is true for every skill or profession.
The easiest way to become something special is also the fastest: Just start doing it. Don't wait for the "right" time. Don't worry about not being qualified or accepted by your peers. Don't worry about making any money for it. Just start doing it.
You want to become a swimmer? Start dipping in the pool.
You want to become an entrepreneur? Start investing your money in a business.
You want to become a writer? Start writing everyday.
Don't waste your time talking about what you will do one day. Just start doing it.
Unless you have an aim, make achieving that aim a priority, and find a way to act on it every day, your chances of succeeding are very slim.