Recently, I have been trying to get to the bottom of why I have an aversion to learning, in certain fields of study. The most pressing issue is that I avoid learning what I will need to know on the job.
I work in the field of information technology, and processes and programs are constantly being reworked and expanded. New content, ideas, information needs to be absorbed, digested, and utilized on a constant basis. For whatever reason I have been able to avoid learning this new information on a regular basis. The downside is that I am inadequately lacking in knowledge in many areas.
I believe the root of this issue revolves around my identity. While growing up, I was never really given room to develop my own identity. My father, who was overbearing and too much a bad presence in my life, tried his best to mold his boys to be just like him. He did not see his boys as individuals but small mirrors of himself. This had a dramatic affect on my development.
When I chose to get a degree in Networking and Computing Systems from a local college, it in no small way reflected this warped identity I had of myself and what my interests were. Looking back, I would have been much better suited to land a degree in graphic design or any other field where creativity is praised.
Instead I got a degree in Computing systems. Not a long shot from my father’s career path, having spent 40+ years at Boeing in the field of Networks.
I believe the single reason I avoided learning new information in the field I chose was that I felt I was being inauthentic to myself. The identity that I had created for myself in my late teens was not of myself but rather a mirror of my father’s identity.
The very choice of the field, was not one I would have selected had I not been trying to mirror my father. I felt that I was being inauthentic to myself when I tried learning any new topic in the field of computing. I can only say what a mess this has been for me, career wise.
Fast forward three years after experiencing an existential crisis, I am now much more aware of who I am. I have a unique identity of my own, and I don’t feel that I am being inauthentic to myself. This translates over to learning more about the field of technology. I have learned over the past few years that I enjoy learning.
This has freed me from having feelings of regret, when I need to learn about a topic related to my job. Knowledge is just knowledge, it doesn’t have to be tied to my identity. I can learn for the sake of learning!