Dream. Dare. Do. Series – Interview with Nayonika

Get ready to unleash your inner dreamer with the Dream. Dare. Do. Interview Series!

WhyNot has teamed up with the crew at AYAC to bring you an inspiring peak into the world of imagination, creativity, innovation and bold moves. Join us as we chat with amazing trailblazing and fearless changemakers who aren’t just dreaming big—they’re making it happen! Discover their wild ideas, epic challenges, and the passion that drives them to shake things up and change the world.

Whether you’re looking for a spark of inspiration, a boost of courage, or just some seriously cool stories, this series is your go-to guide for dreaming, daring, and doing awesome things. So, tune in, get inspired, and let’s make some magic happen together!

Interview with Nayonika (she/they), 25 NSW 

1. If you could envision a world where your wildest dreams for a better society came true, what would it look like?

It’s a kaleidoscope of inclusivity, equality, and boundless opportunities for all. I don’t want to say it is delusionally optimistic but I cannot stop thinking about the sheer joy I would experience in being able to live in a world where I can live and love freely, where those of us who have felt excluded and oppressed can have our voices heard, where things are created to be shared, where connection with nature is not just an integral but a necessary part of our existence. It would look like resource sharing, matriarchal, kind, courageous, eco-centric and slow. Slow because I am so tired of constantly moving so fast and feeling like I am on fumes. Is it so wrong to enjoy life?

2. What role do you believe imagination and creativity play in driving social change and innovation?

Everything that happens in life – is poetry. Creativity and imagination are the little bonds that keep life going and allow it to look colorful and fun. I am also a firm believer in the idea that you do not need to be constantly growing to be better, sometimes stillness is also a sign of resilience and growth. When you embrace both growth and stillness, creativity and imagination go a long way in making sure you can make the experiences surrounding growth and stillness to be more meaningful, engaging and authentic.

3. How do you stay resilient and motivated in the face of adversity or pushback?

I wish I could tell you I was different, that I am special and that there is something I do that makes me immune to feeling the sloppy sad feelings when there is adversity or pushback.

The fortunate reality is that I feel all of those feelings that most people feel and sometimes, I do shut down too. But the thing that helps me the most when approaching any of these adversities is this lone thought – I do not have to get my response right, I just need to allow myself to have a response.

In doing so, I acknowledge that sometimes my body and mind may not feel safe responding and that I need to create a safe space for myself. Secondly, it allows me to gather my energy and best figure out how to approach adversity – through a mind approach, such as, working through mental restrictions or excuses, or a body approach, by moving and allowing myself to re-establish routines. And lastly, I allow myself to celebrate the adversity. It sounds corny but appreciating that things may not be a-okay makes me feel like I am doing something that is challenging my own self-perceptions, and it will be another thing I have pushed through and ticked off the box of life.

4. What advice would you give to other young people who are hesitant to take risks or pursue their passions?

I will not tell you, do it despite being scared. I honestly think that can be a harmful narrative because we should listen to and honour what our minds and bodies need sometimes. And if you are scared – listen to it. Fear is not a scary bully. Fear is a hesitant friend who does not know how to move forward. So, listen to that fear and understand that doing the thing is scaring you. When you do that, ask yourself why – why am I scared and do that five times until you get to the root cause of why you are scared. Once you have understood this, take baby steps to build your courage and comfort levels so you can do the thing. I always say – start in small doses, you do not need to embrace a big act of courage. And eventually you will feel comfortable and confident enough to do it in larger doses.

5. In your opinion, what is the most effective way for young people to collaborate and amplify their impact on issues they care about?

Be honest, not brutally honest. But kindly honest, considerately honest and empathetically honest. In the same way, be kind and be trustworthy and be reliable.

If you look at the glass as half full, then you always have some water to share around in my opinion.

The most effective way to then collaborate and amplify issues is by creating a community that you have forged because of your honesty,  kindness, and trustworthiness.

When this happens – you become the tree. The tree is someone who people can count on, can come to for yarns and will be treated as a safe space. Once you have become the tree, also make sure you are passing these skills and insights onto other people so there can be multiple flourishing trees around you.

6. How would you encourage other young people to get involved and take action on important issues?

There is no formula to take action. The only thing you need to take action is to do it and show up. When you do both – whether your approach is imperfect, messy, confusing, frustrating and the journey up the hardest part is already done, you have taken the step. Everything else after that can be figured out along the way. And eventually you will know how to do it right and do it well.

7. What do you think the number one issue affecting young people in your community is today and why?

Okay make it number 1 issue but for 5 issues sharing the 1st place – financial stress, lack of social and online safety, exacerbation of mental health status, climate anxiety and exposure to violence.


Illustration by Aileen. You can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenngstudio

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