“Every single one of us is good at something. Some of us just give up on what that is before we even discover it. “
“I told her once i wasn’t good at anything.
She told me survival is a talent. You never need to apologize for how you chose to survive.”
Clementine von Radics
“To paraphrase someone smarter than me, who still knows nothing, the philosophical task of our age is for each of us to decide what it means to be a successful human being.
I don’t know the answer to that, but I would like to find out.”
Ottmer <the futurist>
Or better said: better is good.
In addition. Being good at something is good.
Those are two basic Life thoughts. Simple thoughts, but kind of important thoughts. Important because they are pervasive throughout civilization, culture, attitudes and certainly drives behavior.
Now. The most basic aspect of this whole thing of people wanting to be really good at something and, I imagine why people want to be passionate about something, is that they have experience with lack of passion. I say that last thought because <here is a Life truth> the reason why we’re not passionate about stuff we’re not really good at is because we aren’t <cannot be> passionate about stuff we suck at.
Yup. Think about that. Passion is inextricably tied to ‘not sucking’ <or ‘being good at’>.
Here is where it gets a little screwy. Being good at something is a minefield mentally.
Huh? What do you mean <you ask me>??
How many times have you heard some version of the following phrases?
• “Everyone has a special skill!“
• “You just need to practice!“
• “You haven’t tried everything yet!“
That trite advice is fine for people who are good at things, but what if you just suck at everything?
<or at least have sucked at everything you have tried to date>
Well. Here is the good news. It is next to impossible to suck at everything. It is much more likely that “… some of us just give up on what that is before we even discover it.”
As a corollary, in reality, it’s impossible to be good at every single thing you try.
Oh. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you suck. It’s all about perspective and how you define whether you’re good at something. For instance, are you basing how bad you are at something on your own standards or are you comparing yourself to others? If it’s the latter then you need to stop and remind yourself that we are all individuals. You’re not inferior or inept, you’re just different <kind of like snowflakes … okay … maybe not>.
Suffice it to say that insecurities and doubts limit your potential <regardless of whether you suck or are actually good> so if you intend to succeed at something you must first get rid of them.
Ah. But here is the curve ball Life throws at you <or is it a screwball??> — while you are figuring out what you are good at a whole shit load of incompetent assholes around you are trying to convince everyone what they are good at <of which they are actually not good at what they think they are>.
Incompetent assholes rarely know they are <a> incompetent & <b> assholes.
Incompetent people don’t know they are incompetent <in other words … they don’t think they suck>.
When asked, most individuals will describe themselves as better-than-average in areas such as leadership, social skills, written expression, or just about anything where the individual has an interest.
This tendency of the average person to believe he or she is better-than-average is known as the “above-average effect,” and it flies in the face of logic … by definition, descriptive statistics says that it is impossible absurdly improbable for a majority of people to be above average.
It follows, therefore, that a large number of the self-described “above average” individuals are in fact below average in those areas, and they are simply unaware of their incompetence.
It seems that the reason for this phenomenon is obvious:
– The more incompetent someone is in a particular area, the less qualified that person is to assess anyone’s skill in that space, including their own.
– When one fails to recognize that he or she has performed poorly, the individual is left assuming that they have performed well.
Anyway. What this means is that the incompetent tend to grossly overestimate their skills and abilities.
“He felt he was himself and did not want to be otherwise. He only wanted to be better than he had been before. “
The Department of Psychology at Cornell University made an effort to determine just how profoundly one mistakenly overestimates one’s own skills in relation to one’s actual abilities.
They made the following predictions before the studies:
– Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria.
– Incompetent individuals will suffer from deficient metacognitive skills, in that they will be less able than their more competent peers to recognize competence when they see it–be it their own or anyone else’s.
– Incompetent individuals will be less able than their more competent peers to gain insight into their true level of performance by means of social comparison information. In particular, because of their difficulty recognizing competence in others, incompetent individuals will be unable to use information about the choices and performances of others to form more accurate impressions of their own ability.
Rather than showcase the study and the results let me just say … they were correct in their assumptions.
Look. While I have spent a lot of time talking about incompetence and the incompetent, there is nothing more beautiful than watching competence in action. Especially if they are just good, not great, and have the awareness to build on their good in pursuit of … well … not great … but something better.
“No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something.”
any after school 1990’s special
“Sucking is the first step to being sorta good at something”
And maybe that is why competence <or being good> is so beautiful to watch … it is the pursuit.
The pursuit? Being good at something mostly means you weren’t as good, or even sucked, at some point. This means the true competent people keep pushing.
Being good at something means no dumb questions, no dumb answers and no low <or stagnant> standards. And that is where I believe the whole concept of ‘being good at something’ should be grounded.
It’s not passion.
And, frankly, it may not even be something that comes easily to you.
It is about the desire to keep pushing.
It is about being responsible for not quitting.
“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you, never excuse yourself.”
Henry Ward Beecher
In the end. Set aside ‘higher standards’ or ‘accepting you are good at something’ … in the end I respect … well … caring.
Giving a shit.
Or maybe call it … ‘nerdy as fuck about something.’
“I respect people who get nerdy as fuck about something they love.”
Caring enough about what you do is a good thing … and it makes you good at something.
It’s not passion.
It’s maybe not any real ability.
It’s just about the fact that you care.
By the way. Getting back to the first quote I used.
This also suggests, on those tough days and tough stretches in Life, simple survival is a talent because it means you care about Life.
Uhm. And that is a good thing to be good at.
Care about Life and never, never, apologize for how you choose to survive.