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The 5 A’s To Live By

In grade 11, I was introduced to the concept of having a “moral compass.” I have pondered this symbolic idea ever since and have wondered what direction we must follow to satisfy this innate calling. Despite the ups and downs that life presents, at the end of the day, it comes down to how you evaluate yourself which ultimately determines your true sense of fulfillment. I believe that a positive self-evaluation stems from attaining the 5 A’s:

1. Be Authentic

True leadership originates from the ability to be authentic. We are inclined to follow in the shadows of others, aspiring to conform to the image that society has crafted for us. But how can life be interesting if we are all the same? Closing ourselves off from who we are drives us away from our purpose. Setting yourself apart from what is perceived as “socially normal” makes you a leader. Don’t view your differences as setbacks; take your uniqueness and leverage it. Leaving an impact on the world is what we seek to do as human beings, and staying true to who we are will allow us to do just that.

2. Be Ambitious

Scrolling through my Instagram feed (as per usual) I came across a quote that really resignated with me: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire” – Jeniffer Lee (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7430297-be-fearless-in-the-pursuit-of-what-sets-your-soul). A person who sets goals is someone who will obtain a sense of purpose. I believe that it is not accomplishment that fulfills us, it is the pursuit of which we set out to achieve our goals that gives us true fulfillment. Once one goal is completed, reward yourself, then set another one. Goal setting gives us drive, and this drive is what gives us purpose.

3. Be Audacious

We often perceive being audacious as having to be a daredevil by doing slightly insane activities such as bungee jumping or skydiving. However, we don’t have to do extremely dauntless things to prove we have courage. Being audacious is being able to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things you would not usually see yourself trying. It’s taking risks where you are uncertain and weary of the outcome. It’s asking someone out on a date, starting a new business venture, trying a new sport, going on a backpacking trip, and so on. It’s the risks that we take that can set us on a new path to self fulfillment.

4. Be Active

Being active does not necessarily mean having to just be physically active. Being active is acting on your interests and becoming involved in various communities. Exploring new activities such as pottery or swimming can allow you to find your fit in new communities. You learn from others and begin to find your strengths, and can later enhance your capabilities (tying into goal setting). We learn more by being open and embracing new experiences. By acting on our passions, we can figure out and achieve our true calling in life.

5. Be Appreciative

As humans, we seek the approval and gratification of others. We yearn to have that sense of admiration and respect. What we often fail to recognize is that we need to acknowledge others in order to be acknowledged ourselves. We often get consumed by the idea of what we don’t have and yearn for more. Take a pause, step back, and reflect on what you do have (even write it down!). This recognition of your privileges will allow you to attain true happiness acknowledging how lucky you are for the life you currently have.

The 5 A’s are not the easiest principles to live by. We are constantly surrounded by temptations and opportunities to lose sight of our moral compass. At the end of the day, however, it is how we reflect upon ourselves that defines our fulfillment. Upholding the 5 A’s will allow us to reap their rewards. If we can surpass the mentality of seeing these qualities as restrictions, we will be unstoppable.

Hailey Rodgers is from a small town called Westport, Ontario and is in her third year of Commerce at Queen's University. She loves to travel, meet new people, and learn. Hailey's passion for adventure and sharing her experiences is illustrated in her writing. 
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