I was just about to blog about the importance of having something that’s yours, all yours, that you do well. It does wonders for your self-esteem and it helps you find joy in life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your career, and you don’t necessarily have to be the best of the best at it, but I think everyone needs to feel, at least part of the time, that they’ve got this, whatever “this” may be for each person.
But just as I sat down to write, I came across this quote. Trust Kurt Vonnegut to make me see things in a whole new light. I still believe the above, but now the below adds nuance to my theory.
“When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to know you” questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What’s your favorite subject? And I told him, no I don’t play any sports. I do theater, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.
And he went WOW. That’s amazing! And I said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at ANY of them.”
And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.”And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn’t been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could “Win” at them.”-Kurt Vonnegut
So, in light of this new insight, thanks to one of my favorite authors, I now have this postscript. I genuinely think that people should try a wide variety of things. And I agree with Kurt that the experience is the thing. You learn from everything you do. It adds to your skill set. And it makes you a well rounded individual.
I still think you should find something you rock at, but I think that trying a variety of things is how you will find that special thing that will give you joy. I also think that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. That one thing doesn’t have to be huge, like becoming president. It might seem small to someone else. They might not see making delicious cherry pie as a life-changing skill. But that pie (or whatever else) might be where you find yourself in the zone. And that is an awesome place to hang out every now and again.
Rock on, dear reader. Rock on.
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