In brief...

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit if you're interested in more recent writing.

Monday, February 02, 2015

The line between bold and arrogant.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." - Matthew 5:5
As a somewhat typical Catholic, I'm not much of a bible person. I can't remember and quote from the bible at will, but phrases and parables do stick in my head, and that is one of them.

I wouldn't call myself meek, for sure, and I doubt most of my friends would. (Though I also don't think meek is meant to be interpreted in that sense in that quote.) To some, I'm probably loud and brash, outspoken and willing to speak out/up in public, sociable and comfortable with people. To others (especially people in my college), I'm probably the quiet, somewhat anti-social (in the people-avoiding sense, not the disruptive-in-public sense) Asian who's always in her room. And I am that whole spectrum, more or less. I think a fair number of people are. It's not always a dichotomy between 'extroverts' and 'introverts'.

I will speak up for things I care a lot about, in front of a crowd if needed. I'm not painfully shy. I enjoy meeting new people and talking to them, about things. What's the point of conservation, what's wrong with our education system, why are some people mean, why we can never bridge the rich-poor divide etc. What I don't enjoy is small talk, talking about myself, or gossiping. Ironic perhaps, seeing as I maintain public blogs and as mentioned to me rather disconcertingly by one of my supervisors, I leave a very visible trail on the www. But I really don't like talking about myself, or the things I've done (unless relevant to the topic of discussion), because that seems a little arrogant. And maybe it's just my upbringing but I really don't like arrogance or want to be perceived as arrogant and full of myself. (Which is also why I don't like mentioning what schools I go to/have been, because sometimes people just make assumptions based on that.)

Well all that is fine, until I realised this year that networking is really important. And you have to put yourself out there, and kinda talk about how good you are, because that's how opportunities come up.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" - Matthew 7:7-8
And I find that I increasingly have to tell myself, be bold. Just send that email to that professor, or just go up and talk to them. I've always felt like I have to have a very good reason, something intelligent to say, before I can do that. Because otherwise, I'd be wasting their time! What would they want to have to do with me, a mere undergraduate? But yes, sometimes all is needed is the guts, the thick-skinnedness to just start a conversation, and things happen.

I've been very blessed in my life thus far, that I never really needed to be that bold and things have happened for me. But I feel like that might come to an end, and I really need to start being more thick-skinned and ask for things for myself more. I just hope I never come across as being full of myself and always shamelessly self-promoting.

Studies in great tit personalities have revealed that it's good to be bold when resources are limiting and there's the need to be competitive (shy personalities are also successful, but it depends on the sex/resource) (Dall, S.R.X. 2004). Seems like in this extroverted-favoured world, one just has to deal with going along with the flow.

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