Self-Depreciation is Boring

Dear Joy Seekers,

I had an epiphany this week that talking about all the things you're not good at is rather dull conversation. It fueled this week's blog post.

Starting at Boring

After one year of postsecondary education at a tech school, I discovered that while I enjoyed using the computer that I could care less about how to program or fix them. In my computer science program, you quickly saw who was destined for careers with computers and who was not. They usually involved the swapping of horror stories over who blew up their computer that weekend changing various parts out to "see what would happen." Then not only ruining their computers, they would proceed to compare notes with the other destroyers on how they fixed their problem. As soon as the idea of disrupting what was already functioning well enough became completely horrific for me, I knew computer technician/programmer was not for me.

Career Testing

After dropping out of my first year, I went on to undertake some career counseling in an attempt to figure out what I might have an aptitude for. What I discovered is that even when undergoing career counseling you need to have an idea of what you're good at and the only way to get that is to have as many life experiences as possible...which at 19 were minimal.

After doing a series of career tests, the results were in...I should be a teacher, a counselor, a rabbi, a priest, or a minister. it seemed like a bad joke, especially since I wasn't particularly the religious type. I could just imagine conducting midnight mass, and someone asking me why I was there to serve...and I would respond that it was because my career counselor said I had a talent for dispensing Hail Mary's.

What those careers had in common though was a love of shelling out unwanted advice and a socially-acceptable platform to do so. Just kidding! What those careers had in common was the love of wisdom and the opportunity to share time-old ideas and concepts with others who might love them like me.

However, I was 19. Having an aptitude wasn't enough. Having a heart for your chosen career matters...turns a career into a calling.

So I decided to move on to the next logical career...motherhood. Then I had an audience of three to dispense unwanted advice on a socially-acceptable platform. While I would not recommend this path as a way to get out of choosing a career, it is the hardest, most fulfilling job I have ever and am currently doing.

What Are You Good At?

For most of my 40 plus years, I have talked about things I know I'm not good at, some being calculus and creativity. And from this self-deprecating, I have learned three things...everyone is creative, I love calculus (math is so developmental!), and to talk about what you're not good at is boring.

Let's face it if we are engaging a loved one or a stranger in a conversation about what we're not good at...we put them in the position of having to either argue with us in a maladaptive ego-boosting strategy or have them listen which in saying nothing implies agreement...which is another form of self-harm. It's just a self-centered, rather than heart-centered, conversation.

From my own perspective, I don't want to hear about what you're not good at. I want to hear about what lights you up, what you would jump out of bed early each morning to do, and your struggles in honing your craft. Your personal growth is the "hot gos" I'm all over.

What I'm Good At

One of my many addictions (which include dessert taster and coffee gulper) includes consumer of massive quantities of wisdom in the form of podcasts, books, and other humans (I don't consume humans...just their wisdom in their brains). Nothing makes me feel more excited than finding a nugget of truth that has resonated through the ages. Discussions around big concepts like happiness, duty, responsibility, parenting, being human, empathy, kindness, self-love, and love fill me with a sense of energy and delight that makes my eyes light up. Being in the presence of people who exemplify these traits in a total package of ego and imperfection is an elixir to my enquiring mind.

What I have discovered through immersing myself in learning about big questions and allowing them to percolate is that I have become rather good at throwing out the odd wisdom nugget. Often I will have conversations with people or overhear conversations where they will talk about an idea or a concept that I have shared with them. They have no idea I was the one who initiated the idea, and I sit back and revel in delight to hear my words spoken at me in their unique voice.

I have become good at planting seeds...wisdom seeds.

That's not to say that I also don't throw a lot of fertilizer down as well and that sometimes my planting process looks a lot like throwing a bunch of seeds in the air and seeing which one takes root, but if anything I say percolates growth in my fellow humans then I am delighted.

After all, those are seeds that I myself have gathered from my fellow faulty humans. There is no originality on my part. I just have an ability to break through the fluff to find the kernel of truth and regurgitate it in my own unique voice.

Knowing what I am good at has landed me own blog exercising my creativity and sharing nuggets of wisdom. My joy in the process helps me remember my bigger "why"...especially when things are eerily quiet, and you wonder if anything you say lands on any fertile soil or if you're just throwing fertilizer and seeds around.

Because when you're living in your why you find it intensely hard, but joyful work. And you realize years later that your career counselor was not far off. You just had to find your own heart and voice to connect to the aptitude. And when you do, you will find yourself with your own socially-acceptable platform with a whole lot of unwanted advice...Bliss.

The first duty of a lecturer is to hand you after an hour's discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks and keep on your mantlepiece forever.

- Virginia Woolf

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