Keep playing the game, it gets better!

I sell on Ebay, and to sell on Ebay I need to procure “stuff” others want to buy on a regular basis. So here is the thing, when I first started out going to thrift stores, and searching for items through apps such as Offerup, I really had no clue what I was doing.

I started out driving all over town, picking up bulky items that I would pay whatever the asking price was. I didn’t try to haggle the price down with the seller. This business model ended up being inefficient and time consuming.

But this is the thing. When you are in the process of learning anything new, you will go through a similar phase. The awkward path of figuring it out, stumbling along the path of being green at something. Along the way this newness brings with it feelings of uncertainty, self doubt and feelings of loneliness.

There is no way of avoiding it. When starting something new you will most likely suck at it for a while. For me I enjoyed the exploration and learning. I enjoy meeting new people and speaking with them about the items they are selling. The process of learning was more than just a job to me, it fit my personality well.

I guess this segways into the next main point is your “why”. Why do you want to learn this new thing, and is it a big enough “Why” to help push you over the hump when the going gets tough? Being clear about why you want to master a new subject or take a new class will help bring clarity to your mind, when the going gets tough.

The longer you keep playing the game, the more opportunities start opening up for you. I am reminded of this time and time again. On one given day, I might visit a couple thrift stores and garage sales and come up empty. For some this is enough reason to call it quits and stop going out looking for more items. A sign from the gods that they have failed, their luck has dried up and there are no more riches to be found. However, I never quit. I understood that in order to get the good items, I need to be consistent in searching for new items. It never seems to fail. I can have a string of one or two bad days, but strike gold the next day.

You have to keep playing the game in order to reap the rewards. If your “why” is strong enough and you persevere, you will succeed. The odds are in your favor.

My Aversion to Learning

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!


Fear of Learning

I have had a deep fear of learning, ever since I can remember.  Actually, it is a deeper fear than that.  I also fear taking chances. I fear visiting a new restaurant to reading a new book.

I believe my deep seated fear lies in the chance that I will be made a fool, or shamed in some way.   That I will never be competent in the task at hand.

From my past history, as a child, I felt that I could never truly please my father or meet his lofty expectations.  To avert these feelings of shame and inadequacy, I would just not try.  Problem solved.

I found that if I did not try, I could avoid my father’s critiques, for the most part. Unfortunately, this mindset has followed me into adulthood, and it has had a tremendous affect on the trajectory of my life.

My career or lack there of has languished for years now.  I have come to the conclusion that I am afraid of trying because I feel that I am not competent to do the task.  Funny, since in order to be competent at something, you first have to put in the time and effort to master the skill.

This just leaves me in an endless loop of never fully committing to anything, because of this aversion.  Why does it seem that the majority can push through this cognitive block, and I cannot. I don’t think I fully comprehended how much of an affect it has had on my life and career.

I guess what I am saying is that I am not very conscious or self aware.  It is blind spot that I have dealt with my whole life.  How can I be so blind to the fact that I have been running all these years in place.  I want to be more proactive, and take charge of my life.

I don’t want to languish any longer in a dead end job.  What can I do right now that will get me in a better position in life?  It would best to speak to a career counselor or advisor?  Probably.

Maybe, I am not alone.  I would guess there are others out there that have been on auto pilot in their careers, or just life in general, too?  I am wondering how they have pulled themselves out of this ditch.   

If you care comment, if you have been in the same situation, please do.  I would be curious to what you have to say.

What does it take to find work that you love to do

I was thinking about where in my career I currently am and how I got here.  Am I lazy, or do I just not have the where-with-all to pick a career path and make it work?

I can say that I am not lazy.  I am driven by my desire to become the best authentic self that I can be.   Maybe this is why I feel consternation and anxiety when I try to force myself to learn a topic which I don’t feel is authentic to me.   What I do has to in some way connect directly with my core.

But it can be said that you will not always have the luxury to choose what you need to learn to get the job done, however,  I would preface this with, it is up to you to move your career in a direction where the daily work that you are tasked with is in direct alignment with who you are and your strengths.  Not doing so will only bring great hardship and regret in your present life, and later years.

I don’t have an excuse, really.  By staying in my current position, all I am accomplishing is wasting more time, and feeling a deep sense of loathing.   The key for me is to find work where I am able to create.  The path to that is not so clear cut, and to feel my way forward, I will need to take chances.

I currently am learning how to use Adobe illustrator and After Effects.  I enjoy both these programs.  The freedom to express myself using this medium of digital design and animation is refreshing.   I still have anxiety, not knowing if the time I spent using the programs with bring any sort of real value to me.

I think the key here is to get my work out there on this or another blog, and show what I have learned.  I have a need to share and teach, along with a desire to be competent in what I do.  Learning a task is one thing, but the process of learning and applying the task is on a completely different plane.

The is the thing, you have to do the thing before you find out that it will work out for you.  Many people with not take the leap of faith to try new things, because they don’t see a clear cut path.

It comes back to curiosity, courage, and having the sense to invest time in work and play where it brings you joy.

I still don’t know what my future career path will be.  I want to continue to explore visual design, and creative thinking.  I enjoy journaling and writing on this blog,  and maybe having no reservations or high expectations of what this will bring is the best way to exploring what I want.