Austin Scholar #32: How To Constructively “Follow Your Passion”
& How My Sister Went From Novice To Best-In-Town In Under 2 Years
My sister is a volleyball star, but this is a new development–two years ago she wasn't playing volleyball at all.
Her meteoric rise to aptitude–and success–carries some important lessons on how to educate your kid.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
This week from Austin Scholar...
Austin’s Anecdote: How my sister went from novice to best-in-town in under 2 years
How to constructively “follow your passion”
Scholar’s Sources: My favorite resources on finding a purpose
Unfortunately, despite all of my new systems (which I talked about in my last newsletter), this was another anxiety-filled week.
Honestly, it was a good reminder that there isn’t always a clear reason why anxiety sets in.
Sometimes, it’s just a hard week.
Regardless, I’ve been posting every single day on Twitter, so y’all might want to check it out if you haven’t already! :)
Also, writing this week’s Anecdote was super fun because I love to brag on my sister. She’s awesome, and I can’t wait to tell you all about her.
Austin’s Anecdote: How My Sister Went From Novice To Best-In-Town In Under 2 Years
My sister didn't touch a volleyball until seventh grade.
This might seem insignificant–except for the fact that now, in ninth grade, she’s on the top travel team in Austin.
How did she master the sport so quickly?
At the beginning of seventh grade, my sister’s life was consumed with one core thing: anime.
And one of the most popular anime on Netflix is a volleyball-themed anime called Haikyuu.
After she watched the first episode about the short, volleyball-obsessed boy's journey to win volleyball nationals, she was hooked.
Days were spent locked in her room, watching Haikyuu and learning everything about volleyball. (Watching Haikyuu is actually a great way to become an expert in playing volleyball, surprisingly enough.)
And then came the next step: convincing the family of her new dream to be the best volleyball player in Austin.
Now, my sister had tried many different sports in her short 12 years of life that she swore were going to be "the sport."
After watching the Nutcracker, she promised that she would dance in the show.
Simone Biles and the American Girl Doll: McKenna movie led her to declare she wanted to do a backflip.
Then came lyrical dance, basketball, ballet again, tennis, swimming, and an incredible one week on a soccer team.
This, of course, isn't a bad thing. In fact, trying out a ton of different hobbies is actually super important.
It just led to our parents (and me, to be honest) not being super convinced that volleyball was going to last.
And so, imagine our surprise when, after a month, she was still doing volleyball lessons.
Not only was she still doing volleyball lessons, she asked to do more volleyball lessons every week.
Over the course of her seventh-grade year, she finished Haikyuu and was playing volleyball five days a week for two hours every day.
She was committed. She found "her sport."
So, in eighth grade, she was ready to try out for a team. My little sister, who didn't know how to set a volleyball a year ago, was competing with girls who had spent over five years playing the game. I was so proud.
But she didn't make a team.
And that's when everyone who knew my sister (me included, I'm sad to say) thought she was finally going to quit volleyball.
But you know what? She didn't.
She took the rejection and the negativity and used it as fuel to keep playing.
She kept on playing volleyball for hours every single day. She tried sand volleyball and did workouts and weight-lifting on top of her normal practices to help her get stronger.
Over the summer, she went to Dartmouth and Harvard to do two-week volleyball intensives.
And then in ninth grade, when she went back to volleyball tryouts, she beat out all of her friends who had been playing volleyball since elementary school and she was chosen to be on the best travel team in Austin.
I want to tell you this story partly because I’m just really proud of my sister. But also, there’s a deeper meta lesson here.
How To Constructively “Follow Your Passion”
Teenagers are often told to “follow their passions.”
This is pretty useless advice for two main reasons: