Cluttered Box

Walking the Thin Grey Line

Grey areas are what define the world, regardless of how its complexity. Things are not simply black and white, there are many ifs, whats and buts – which is what essentially makes each person, situation and problem unique. If everything was either black or white, there would only be two options in life – right or wrong. While that sounds idyllic and easy, it is far from reality and you know it.


As a student we are drilled to sell ourselves, whether we are trying to make our case to professors, universities, career counselors or recruiters. This continuous necessity to sell yourself as a person who is perfect and apt to do said tasks is draining, exhausting and demoralizing. Yes, everyone has to go through it, from being a school student to entering college and writing your personal statement (without too many ‘I’s) for university education, to crafting your CV and writing a cover letter for the job you qualified for. There is a non-stop challenge to market, publicize and advertise your personality to get where you want to be.

Well, I’m calling it – it’s not fair.

My reason for this is twofold. Firstly, if I am supposed to market myself for my whole life, why is talking about yourself considered to be a societal faux pas. If I don’t refer to myself as ‘I’, then how can I tell you about myself. You see the problem? When I was applying to universities, I had to write the dreaded personal statement – a basic summary that had to include landmarks and achievements about my time at school. My career counselor’s returned my statement with one remark and many red circles on the sheet of paper: Too many “I”s. To me, this is the most meaningless remark since the entire purpose of the personal statement is to write about YOURSELF.

Secondly, there is a general misconception that people who are confident in their abilities are arrogant – a word that not only exudes a negative context, but it also is used to describe someone who is uncooperative and difficult, both being qualities that are highly disliked. This is where walking on the thin grey line comes in – if I know I am good at something, do I have to hide it to get ahead in life? 


Regardless of how people perceive me, I have decided to choose the path of being confident. Many think it is arrogant of me to do so, but if I am not my biggest cheerleader, then who will be?! Once you become resilient in your quest to achieve greatness, you have to make the decision to believe in yourself. Right now, I am giving myself the push to do better and accomplish my dream – and to get where I want to be, I have to boast about my abilities, show off my achievements and parade my successes – because only then can you make sure that you get ahead.

But wait.

Always remember the thin grey line – it is the only way to strike a balance and steer clear of the disease that has no going back a.k.a over confidence. The best way to do this to always be humble. If you know you are capable, show it discreetly and then enjoy the glory. Don’t gloat and keep your head high. Greatness only comes to those who deserve it, and if you go around beating the drum to yourself, then no one else ever will. Be patient, be quiet and be humble. This will help you master the art of walking on the thin grey line.


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