This is Water – Freeing Myself from Expectations

30 Oct

There are two young fish swimming along and they come across an older fish who says, “Morning boys. How’s the water?” They continue swimming until eventually one of the younger fish turns to the other and says, “What is water?”

As David Foster Wallace points out in his commencement speech in the video above, this fish metaphor is simply a way of saying that the most important realities are often right in front of us. They are just really, “…hard to see and talk about.”

Wallace goes on to say there are many aspects of adulthood college students don’t expect when entering the real world—the mundane, everyday tasks, for one. Tasks that can sometimes be very tedious and annoying for all of us—but they don’t have to be.

We operate on the assumption that everything revolves around us and our needs, when that isn’t really the case. Wallace points out that if we shift this default way of thinking away from ourselves and include the possibility that there may be more important things going on in the world, we could stand to be a lot happier for it.

I share this video because, as I narrow my final year in college, I’ve failed to realize that my life won’t always be what I want it to be. It won’t be as exciting as I expect every day, but I can’t let that affect my perception of happiness – I think we could all stand to remember that.

We’re not promised the most exciting adventure every day of our lives, but we get to make our own weather. I have the ability to decide about how I feel about the situations life presents me with. In the Housley Principled Leadership Program, we often reference Covey’s 90/10 principle. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t stop to consider the fact that we are the ones who affect how we feel. We get to, “consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t”, and that is the true value of an education.

It is what real freedom is.



Kameron Fehrmann is a senior Communication Design major at Texas State University. Since her start at Texas State, Kameron has been involved in several student organizations on campus. These organizations, along with the Housley Principled Leadership Program, have allowed her to develop her personal design aesthetic and become a passionate leader who loves working with great people to make beautiful, effective designs. Kameron has been part of the Stelos family for almost a year, and is currently a Stelos Fellow.



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