Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Root of the Problem

Remember when I wrote about feeling a little depressed and tons doubtful about career and life in general? I think I know what the problem is.

I don't know exactly what I'm good at anymore.

Does that make sense to you? Does it sound familiar? Let me know if I'm wrong about being alone on this one. It would mean a lot to me.

Here's the thing: at 29, I don't think I'm talented at all. I have skills that I can put on a generic resume, but even those seem so amateur to me. It's an intensely horrible feeling, because without mastery of a particular skill or talent, how in the heck are you contributing to the world we live in?

Writers tell stories. Filmmakers put stories into moving pictures. Photographers capture memorable stills. Chefs feed. Mothers nurture.

I'm a teacher. And I know that my job is important, so important that without teachers, the world would not survive. But since I feel very amateur about everything I do, I don't feel like I'm really making much of a difference, even as a teacher. And an amateur in the realm of molding kids', i.e., The Future's minds, could be doing more harm than good.

I want to contribute. I want to do something great. Who said that line, about being 'destined for greatness?' Let me borrow that for a moment.

The opposite of greatness is insignificance. Doing something 'great' with your life, to me, means that you are making the decision to do what you genuinely love doing, what you are passionate about. Older folks say that this 'live to be great' / 'reach for the stars' / 'do what you love' mentality, is a dangerous perception, and a product of an entitled, spoiled, younger generation. They say it belittles the value of 'real' labor, and diminishes the 'greatness' that can be found, not just in the CEO of a corporation, but the people underneath that do the dirty work for him. You're a CEO precisely because you fulfilled the holy mantra of 'doing what you love', while the bottom ranks chose not to.

I don't believe that. In fact, I envy people who do the seemingly insignificant hard labor yet do it anyway, maybe not necessarily because they love what they do, but simply because they are decent, hardworking human beings.

But I'm not them. I'm an indecisive, hard-to-please individual. I always think there should be more out there for me and I will not be satisfied until I reach it.

I don't know what I'm good at, but I think of the things that I actually enjoy doing. Story-telling. Blogging. Cooking. Baking. Drawing. Painting. Reading. Playing the piano. Singing. Yoga. All things I am completely an amateur at, but things that I genuinely enjoy doing. Hobbies, in other words.

Anna Akana's latest vlog entitled 'Focus', warns us about dabbling in too many things, such as hobbies, because sure, you get good at a bunch of random things, but you don't get great at any one thing.

There's that word again: great.

So I think the next step I need to take is to choose one thing from the myriad of things that I genuinely enjoy doing, and stick to it until I am officially great at it; until I am an actual master of something. Another problem I have is that I never finish anything that I've started, except for books or TV series. Maybe now is the time to actually start on something and actually finish it. 

If I believed in New Years Resolutions, that would be it for me. To become great at one thing.

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