mediocrity in all things

I don’t challenge myself enough.

If I feel inspired to acquire a new skill, I will learn the basics, but I only go so far. I took guitar lessons for awhile. I could plunk out a tune if the chords were basic, but when it started getting difficult, when the dreaded F chord and Bm reared their heads, I more or less gave it up. Every once in awhile I pull out the guitar and play the simple songs I learned at the beginning, sometimes I look for some other tabs to try, but I don’t stretch myself. I don’t make the effort. It’s hard.

I taught myself to knit about ten years ago. Yet I still haven’t attempted anything really complex. I’ve never tried to knit a sweater. I can make scarves and blankets and hats and leg warmers, but I’ve never made the effort to create something that required taking measurements, making gauge swatches and working from a complex pattern. I just want to get on with it! But when I rush I just end up disappointed with mediocre results. And who wants that?

I also do yoga. (Though I haven’t done it much lately). Yet again, I do my basic poses, my familiar routine, but I don’t challenge myself to try difficult poses very often. When I’m in a phase of doing it regularly, I feel the improvements in my body, in my flexiblity and strength. But I don’t go beyond a certain level. Part of it is fearing I will hurt myself, but most of it is just fear of failure.

All of this is fear of failure. It’s not being able to have patience with myself while I make mistakes. It’s a lack of commitment to the time needed to advance a skill.

I’m not saying this to whine, it’s more just trying to define what the problem is, and why I can be sort of good at some things, but not REALLY good at anything in particular. I need to get over the idea that I need to be awesome at something right out of the gate or it’s not worth doing. It’s making skill-improvement a priority, and not saying, “I don’t have time” when I seem to find plenty of time to spend buried in nonsense on the internet.

What I really wish for, more than just about anything, is an obsession-level dedication to pursuing one thing. I want the desire to know how to play a musical instrument, or learn a particular art or craft to be so compelling that I have to do it every day. And I haven’t figured out what that thing is yet.

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mediocrity in all things