In addition to sharing what I have known about the last few weeks of struggling with some significant amounts of back pain, I would have to include more of my personality traits to get a sense of where I come from. In this, you will learn more about how I actually function from my perspective, and my view of myself through the eyes of other people.
For starters, as a kid, I remember being taken in for testing for ADHD, and that required a series of electrodes being attached to my head. The easiest way to go about using these was to ever so slightly scratch the surface of my scalp (not enough to scar, but it was more akin to a very fine, imperceptible glass cut) and “glue” (attach by some means) thee wires to my head and measure brain activity. I don’t remember exactly when this took place, and I certainly don’t remember the time of day. That was weird, and it showed up as a memory out of nowhere.
I was, as I mentioned before, diagnosed with ADHD and given Ritalin to control my random urges to be bored in class, and this persisted for around four years.
Ritalin did absolutely nothing to me, but at the time I didn’t really care what it did– so long as I was able to improve upon my schooling, that’s all I was supposed to do.
And it did exactly nothing of the kind. I ended up paying even more attention to seemingly insignificant things, like flies, scuff marks (turns out, rubber soles can leave marks on the ground which can easily be wiped away), chalkboards (nails on a chalkboard is exactly as unpleasant as you might have been lead to believe, and with sensitive hearing, it’s 100% guaranteed to make a chill go down my spine the likes of which make my neck muscles go haywire– and it’s annoying), actually practicing my handwriting, and everything else which happened to do nothing with schooling in any fashion.
I was, however, particularly fascinated with how things were the way they were, and why they were as such. These could have been things easily explained to me, given the proper environment, but the schooling system doesn’t allow for that type of one-on-one education within their cookie-cutter “standards” to any degree; it is built upon specific foundations of learning which, by the time third or fourth grade rolled around, all of the basic things I could have learned were learned. Everything else was fluff. I really don’t care that Crispus Attucks was the first recorded death in the Boston Massacre, but that fact has stayed with me because they drilled that into my head. Well and good, but if we are to consider that as a highly important piece of history, should it not be considerable to discover who the first person killed in the Civil War (Daniel Hough, though it wasn’t technically a casualty– it was a cannon that accidentally fired and he just happened to be in the way).
None of these facts are significant, and yet with the internet at our fingertips, we can learn ANY fact we wish to learn, however insignificant it might be.
This is where I thrive, and yet, primary schooling tells us what’s important to learn and what is to be disregarded, and for that I believe a great injustice to people like myself is being promulgated at the hands of people who learned in a traditional environment who believe this very model (now outdated) is precisely the model which is to be a permanent mark of societal culture going into the twenty-first century.
I learn and learn and read and learn, just for the sake of knowing more about very specific things about specific things, and not caring to take into account the greater picture. Zippo lighters, I can explain to you as much as I can remember about them and still be considered an expert on it, even after lacking refresher reading. Knives, they’re cool to learn about, and I have a small handful– whoop de dooders, yes?
The problem I encounter after accessing every bit of information I can, and obtaining just as many of the very things I read about, is simply this– I lose interest. I then cycle between months and years of going back to collecting them, selling them, collecting, selling, collecting, selling– after holding onto these items for extended periods of time without actually using them, and then I grow highly attached to these things without considering once their long-term value if kept outside of a display case or otherwise.
I then retain a few items of said interest, and after a while I’m right back into the same exact thing. It’s a cycle of sorts, and it tires everyone else out. I have laser-like focus when it comes to that, and I have unlimited amounts of dedication to learning the one thing.
And then, just like that, I drop the entire thing. I spend multiple hundreds of hours reading and learning from the pros who have done this for years. Everything from experience can be distilled into a few minutes of a video or a blog post, and then I fly in and out and I’m done.
Therein lie the problem.
I have zero motivation to stay in one branch of expertise for extended periods of time. Most of this is due to a lack of true discipline. Once I begin to burn out of something, I stop. Staying in one subject for too long really bears down upon me. This is exactly the reason why I don’t keep up with blogging, writing, or anything else of that matter– I can’t do it for too long without feeling as if I am forcing myself into something. I can set goal posts and still fall short because I run out of motivation to stay in the one area of expertise for too long. I become frustrated, and then extended periods of this force me to become bitter towards my job.
I have no explanation as to why this happens to me.
What happens with me specifically is this: whenever I find myself achieving a certain amount of skill level in any job sector, I become recognized for that skill. Once I have earned expertise in that area, I then must continue keeping that level of achievement everywhere I go within that job, understanding full well the effort it took to get there.
I see that other people are not doing what they ought to to be able to get to that point of skill even when they have been there for longer periods of time than myself, and it bewilders me that I’ve earned a level of achievement for something I only had a few weeks of skill in versus their years of experience.
It bothers me that I can do something very well, but when it comes to being paid for that effort in equal amounts– there’s no way they will consider a raise because I fall short everywhere else, and from my experience, it makes full sense why they would never raise my income a dime per hour.
I’m super forgetful in SOME things in EVERY job I have ever had, and once I have gotten to a point of expertise in ONE thing– I dwell entirely too much on it at the loss of gaining experience in other areas of that particular job. Balance is way out of proportion. At Panera, I was an excellent dish washer, customer service associate, trainer in dining room, and coffee brewing dude. I did those things VERY well. In order to become a trainer, though, you must become knowledgeable in three areas out of five– dining room, sandwich line, salad line, barista, cashier. The first three I accomplished in under a month, and towards the end of my stint there, I was on dining room exclusively. Apart from that, even if I had to day days off from being sick, it wasn’t met without some form of resistance.
Once I left for a new job, I was happy about not having to wash dishes endlessly, but I had a system in place which made me the most effective employee-level dish washer during the time I was there. Whether I can do something well or not, regardless of the quality of work I produce, and regardless of the sustained level of excellence I had achieved for dining room and customer service– I could NOT remember the sandwich builds. I could NOT memorize the salads. I just couldn’t do it no matter what, no matter how much time I placed into learning that particular thing. I just could not do it.
Now, why could I do one thing very well with little effort and perform very poorly in another, equally important aspect of the job duties? I believe it has to do with being selective about the things at which I wish to excel. My brain works to be awesome in just a couple of things and not consider the project as a whole just as important as the menial tasks. I do not understand why this is, and it frustrates me that I cannot just motivate myself to become great at the few things because those particular tasks are synergistic with everything else. The bigger picture, as they might call it.
One thing I can tell you I excel in is writing, and that’s for sure. There is a certain voice to my writing, a particular style, and a certain level of creativity that goes into my work. This is one thing I can say without any hint of doubt where I excel and actually know it. This is where those problems I have experienced in every other job pretty much end. I know every aspect of what I write and I control the content, and this is how people have been able to really glow in their chosen line of work. It’s been a secret in today’s world that, although we have access to all the information in the world at our fingertips through the use of miniature computers which connect us to opposite sides of the world in a matter of seconds, we have certain abilities that no one else has, unique to our personality fingerprints as much as our quirks and flaws from the beginning of our time here on earth– we each have skills which no average person can match. Even if you chose to work on your weaknesses the rest of your life, you will have that innate strength of creativity on your side regardless of the means by which you exercise that strength.
Many people don’t fully awaken to their strengths until after the rooted novelty of youth is pretty much felled to the wayside during adulthood. They say the world is a tough place to live, but if you can find the things about which you are most passionate, then nothing can really stop you from living the life you deserve.
Remember, if you aren’t doing well in your job, or you feel as if the escape from the rat race is limited to a glass ceiling, just remember that the methods by which you advance to the next stages of income and freedom will only take a few moments of reflection each day about the things which you find the most pleasurable for experiencing.
For example, I like to write sometimes, and this year I have actually been writing a lot more due to the amount of back pain that I have been experiencing and my journey to recovery. This is one of those things which I had not expected to ever do in my life time, and I for certain never thought I could regularly post upwards of 1,500 word blog posts in a couple of times per week for an extended period of time. I always thought I would burn out. But if you break your tasks into smaller, bite-sized piece of work, you can accomplish much more than you ever thought possible. At the same time, however, you have to actually put the work in. One does not simply get ahead in life by doing nothing, and it took me a long time to learn that very true fact.