Rhymes With Fuchsia

Monday, May 26, 2008

Frozen Over

Yesterday I talked about days when my mind is a complete blank, so instead of a post with actual ideas expressed in words you get pictures of flowers, or yarn, or cats, or cats with flowers, or... anyway. Rarely have I experienced such complete brain-freeze as I did a week ago last Tuesday, when the official Ten on Tuesday was ten things you're really good at.

Excuse me?


Knitting? I'm not bad at that. In fact not at all bad. Almost sort of good, I might say.



Well, kind of. I mean, I am a professional writer, so I must be decent at it or I wouldn't get paid to do it, right? But I write online help for software programs (if people look blank when I say "technical writer" I usually explain, "you know how you open up the box and pull out the user guide and after about 15 minutes of vigorous swearing you say 'what kind of idiot wrote this gibberish?' that would be me."), hardly a creative pursuit as we normally understand the term. I have written exactly one short story in my entire life, for the amusement of my friends and family, and never even tried to publish it.


Cooking? Haven't done much of it in a while; it's sort of hard to get ambitious about cooking on the Diet From Hell. Photography? You've gotta be kidding.

Being a mom? Wife? Daughter? Not as good as I should be. Most days I just muddle through.

I'm not fishing for compliments with all this, really. It's just that I happen to know I'm not the only one who has an extremely hard time coming up with even three strong suits, never mind ten. This would help to explain, among other things, why resume-writing services flourish. And, although I read somewhere that men are more likely to attribute success to talent and hard work, while women tend to chalk it up to dumb luck and pray no one finds out that they don't really deserve it, I don't think it's an exclusively female trait either.

So, two questions: do you have trouble identifying what you're good at? (The one interview question I dread and drill on the most is not "what's your biggest weakness?" but "what are your strengths?") And, whether you do or not, why do you think so many people do?

I'll close with a picture of someone who never thinks about being a great swimmer, but just swims.

Nice work if you can get it.


  • I have no problem identifying what I'm good at based upon feedback from others ... I just have a hard time believing that I'm truly good at it! Living up to my own standards is the biggest challenge.

    By Blogger Danielle, at 7:20 AM  

  • The need to be perfect stops us in our tracks and may even keep us from trying. Doing is the important thing and, with everything, the more we do the better we get. Perfect is for god.

    By Blogger Margene, at 7:42 AM  

  • Well, it's ten things you are good at, not ten things that you can do better than everyone else. Not ten things you can do perfectly. On the scale of zero to perfect, I rate about "good enough." And right now I can feel you vigorously rejecting "Good enough." Sorry, babe. As long as you insist on keeping the bar at world record heights, you won't crest it. You are a wonderful person, but,much as I hate to say it, you are just an ordinary person. You have a life and a family and a job. People who excell, excell, excell at things do nothing BUT those things. You are good at many things. Loosen the ego and be satisfied with your ordinary excellence. Didn't mean to scold. What Margene said. Love.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:26 AM  

  • I started to do that 10 on Tuesday and also couldn't finish... I could list lots of things I like doing, but admitting I'm good at them was sadly difficult.

    By Blogger Local Egg, at 10:15 AM  

  • Roxie's first line stole my thunder.

    By Anonymous Laurie, at 10:57 AM  

  • i suffer from that syndrome that roxie described. since i'm not the best at any one thing, then i have no idea what i'm good at.

    By Anonymous maryse, at 12:14 PM  

  • What Margene and Roxie said.

    By Blogger Ruth, at 12:54 PM  

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