What we find difficult will be different to what our friends, family, teammates, or work colleagues find difficult. This is what makes engaging in cooperative effort such a beautiful thing. We can embrace the strengths of each person and help each other work on our weaknesses. None of this, however, makes it easy to let go of the feeling that we want to be better at things which right now we aren’t.
Things I’m good at include:
- Writing stories, music and poetry.
- Playing and coaching ultimate frisbee.
- Being relentlessly positive and encouraging towards others.
Things I’m not so good at include:
- Going to bed at a reasonable time.
- Engaging in early morning exercise.
- Calming my brain so I can settle into deep work
- Finding a place to call home.
- Putting myself out there.
Let us take a look at a few of these things.
I started playing sport at a young age, and was encouraged to try as many different ones as I wished to. At highschool I settled into playing five regularly. I was decently good at soccer, cricket, squash, and badminton. I was less decent at tennis, but my fitness made up for my lack of technical ability a bit. What helped me improve was the understanding that with hard work and intentional practice I would get better. (Being a taller-than-average human with longer-than-usual arms also helps when it comes to goalkeeping, and reach in racket sports.)
At highschool I also found a love of writing. Any subject that required writing of any kind was something I looked into, and assignments for these I usually started early and finished first. It took me a few decades to master my doubt demons enough to believe I could actually turn any of my ideas into a fully fledged novel – and now I’ve actually finished a draft of one manuscript and am editing it! Pushing through the resistance which kept telling me I wasn’t any good at writing, and that I never would be, was tough, far above the level of struggle I experience when I’m not able to do something well in sport. Slowly I chipped away at that problem, and now I love writing anything and everything I can sink my teeth into. Finishing things is now one of my current work-ons!
Sport and writing are examples of two areas where I understand there will be obstacles and feel I can face them and overcome them. There are other areas of my life where I feel totally incapable and am not sure how to even start working at them.
I’ve had trouble with sleeping patterns since highschool. Playing three sports in winter and two in summer, working a part time job, fitting reading around those things, playing too many computer games, boardgames or movies with friends most Saturday nights, and spending too much time on graphics and design assignments for school left little time for silence. Seldom did I take a break to rest. It seems like this built up a sleep deficit which I’m still working to overcome. Thankfully, I feel like my sleeping schedule and the effectiveness of the hours I do sleep is improving. Step by step, I’m getting to where I want to be.
Over the past fifteen years, since leaving home to attend university, I have moved around a fair bit. It has left me feeling a longing for a place which feels like home. I enjoyed the places I lived and the people I lived with (for the most part, I absolutely accept the fact I am human and have foibles), but nowhere has felt like home as yet. I understand it’s not just about the physical place but also what I bring with me to the living situation, but I’m still searching. This is something I do not understand how to find the solution for …yet.
All of these things, the ones I’m good at putting effort into and the ones I’m not, are worthy of time and thought. For the rest of this year and beyond, my responsibility is simply to take the next step. And the next one. And the next one. To keep getting better at doing whatever it is I am doing.
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Are there things you avoid because they seem difficult? What would a positive outcome of these things look like?
How can you take the first step (small ones most definitely count!) towards taking up the challenges in front of you?
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You’ve got what it takes to get started. So keep on starting. Peace.