It’s funny, I’m finding that I write posts that are more for me than anyone else I know. I think I’m gaining more from writing this blog than any of my readers. Read below. Case in point.
It is so easy to think we must do everything well to succeed. (There are always those annoying people who do everything well and learn a subject foreign to them in two minutes.) If someone else is good at something, we think we need to be too. Quite often, I find myself feeling inadequate because I’m just so awkward when trying to do some things. Sounds stupid, but my whole life, I have watched friends doodle (some people have this hidden doodling talent that could take over the world) and looked at my timid tornadoes in despair. My dad is an animator for goodness sake! I honestly have no idea how I missed out on the gift of art, but, alas, I have, and I have lived my life staring longingly at the pages of my neighbor while they refuse to listen to a speaker. So there’s one example. Another example, and
possibly a better example, is the fact that I have always found it extremely difficult to talk to people. Now when it comes to talking in front of people, aka public speaking, I’m a natural. The actual conversing with people, even sometimes the people closest to me, has always just freaked me out. I wasn’t able to look a guy in the face until I was about 15 years old (heck, I probably can’t even now). Then, I look at the people who go up to anyone and instantly make them their best friend, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never do anything ever with my poor little life. (If you know me, yes, this is true. I act like an extrovert, but I’m not. Just trust me on this one.) Okay, so we’ve covered what we all think we should be able to do; what is my suggested alternative? I’m glad you asked.
I want to encourage you, first of all, that you don’t have to be good at anything you’re not a natural at. Yup, those things that you think you should be good at should not even be on your radar. Why? You guys ask good questions!
Because you’ll never be great at those things! It’s so not worth even trying. What you should do instead is pick one thing (at least to start out) that you’re a natural at and become a genius at it. You should do this because it’s an area you already have strength in. Since you’re naturally strong, if you work at it, you have amazing potential to become even stronger and eventually blow everyone away with how crazy good you are. Don’t believe me? Here’s an illustration. I teach piano, and I always tell my students to work on the easiest hand in the piece first. The reason behind this is simple: If it’s already easy, you’ll have it down pat quickly. You won’t have to think about it, and then you’re technically halfway there. Then, once that hand is second nature, when you add the difficulty of the other hand, no effort will have to be given to the part of the piece you’ve already learned. Now try thinking about it the other way around, if you focus on the harder hand first, you’ll end up adding the easier hand before the former is second-nature (there’s really no getting around that). Imagine yourself doing this>> you’d stumble around forever! It’s similar with our natural abilities versus our unnatural ones. If we focus on the things we’d like to be better at before we’re good at the things that come naturally, life is just a very confined box and we’re constantly bumping into its walls.
So what’s your remarkable? What is one thing that you can be the “best in the world” at? To help your wheels start to turn, I’ll share about my life (since I’m egotistical like that).
My “remarkable” is definitely music. Without a doubt, hands down, it’s music. Growing up, I always sang and danced and played the piano and studied it whenever I heard it. But here’s the tricky part, it’s not just music>> it gets more specific than that. For my first three years of High School, I studied piano with a professor of piano at Whitworth University (something I don’t regret in the least) and for three years played composer after composer after composer and never ever ever was excited to sit down and learn them. I’ve since realized that the problem wasn’t that I wasn’t good at piano. Once I learned my Mozart Concerto, I understood the phrasing and how it should sound and what the pieces were. But like my piano teacher once told my dad, “Aubry’s problem is not that she’s not good, it’s that she stops at 80%, never truly putting the finishing touches on her piece.” Now that I’m somewhat removed from that world (um, actually, not somewhat, completely), and writing my own music instead of learning that of others, I’ve learned something about myself : I want to be creative and make my own rules. I want to be different and come up with something new. Playing another’s music, while gorgeous and so worth it, was never something I would excel at, and was never something I wanted to excel at (hence the 80%). Writing my own songs, I’ve started to grow exponentially in my creativity, honing my voice skills, harmony skills, and obviously, songwriting skills. I learn my own songs 100% and, if I had the time and money, could probably spend weeks on recording them. This is not to say that songwriting is a breeze and I don’t have a care in the world. Sitting down at my piano and writing a song stretches me and, at times is uncomfortable. But it’s a skill that I was strong in to begin with and have been able to become even stronger in.
Of course, I’m nowhere near being “the best in the world” at songwriting. But, in all humility, I’m at least better at songwriting than anyone else I know personally, and that’s at least a start *insert cheesy winky face*.
I’d like to encourage you not to take this as an opportunity to learn nothing ever again unless you’re good at it to begin with. There’s something to be said for Algebra, however we may suck at it. As a marketer, it’s a good idea for me to learn different programs and to learn how to set up a legit website (something I’m still working on, this one doesn’t count). I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the “techiest” person I know, so these things don’t come easy to me, but they are still worth working on. The important thing to remember, though, is that I’m not a failure if I don’t automatically understand Adobe or HTML. BUT, God gave me the gift of songwriting, so I better grow it.
One last thing you might be wondering>> How in the world do I find my “remarkable“? This could be an easy answer, or a not-so-easy answer, I haven’t decided yet.
Observe yourself (don’t you dare go to the gutter, you brain!). What things, even against your better judgement, make you excited to just be alive? What do you do that brings a big fat smile to your face? What one thing would you do whether or not you ever got paid for it? It might take some time to figure it out, and as a heads-up, it may not be the thing you think it is (for a long time, I thought singing and songwriting both were merely hobbies). Look for hovering pleasures (I’ve always LOVED to perform). And it never hurts to ask those closest to you, they might have some valuable insight you may never have thought up on your own.
I hope that helps and maybe is encouraging to some of you. Never ever feel like you have to be good at something you’re not to be valuable. Hone every skill you’re given the opportunity to learn, but only put pressure on yourself to grow quickly in areas that you already are growing quickly.
Now I’m off to make a list of all the things I’m getting sidetracked on. It’s probably massive and my life is probably way too full and I’ll probably decide that I’m not writing enough good songs.
By the way, I’d LOVE to hear what your thoughts are on what you think your “remarkable” is. I just want to remind you that it’s not prideful to acknowledge the gifts God has given you when you are humble and grateful for them. It’s actually really good to acknowledge them; then you know exactly how to honor and serve God!
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