Jack of all trades, master of none

A light breeze in the walk home, a sour sensation at the nose bridge, a desperate desire to shake off the frustration

It was another day wasted in office. Distractions seemed like something more interesting than work on hand. Perhaps it is owing to the lack of urgency, the lack of a need, the lack of motivation, the lack of someone ordering me to do something, the lack of a carrot at the end of the stick. Not that I am gonna let myself languish on; I’ll have to reverse the trend, and hence, this post.

It is ironic that I just told E last night that most people are robots. Charging at night, expending their energy during the day, and repeating this process until the day they surrender their Identification Card. Looking back now, at least some form of structure and certainty would be just the thing I need, but by a twist of fate, what I am doing now doesn’t give me that. I’m sure these “robots” as I named them would look at me and say, “I’d never want to be like him.” And I agree, at my state now, even I would not want to be like this. So why am I like this then?

Part of the culprit I would say, is due to the nature of constant comparison. Everyday we meet people who are successful in the areas they specialized at. For me, academics. These professors are publishing well, paid well, multiple assistants at their beck and call, and have free times on their hand to do what they want. Even better, teaching and researching at NUS, which I just learned yesterday, pays really well in fact. And then I look at myself, facing the readings and the computer screens, wondering how I would get there in future. Actually, there are no hard and fast rule, as we all know inside of us.

But what then is the key to igniting such motivation? Should we actually just ignore what accomplishments others have made, just so that it doesn’t distract us, tell us, and cripple us whether we are doing adequately well compared to someone, and often better than us? Have you ever won or achieved something that you don’t know what’s the norm among others, simply celebrating, and then look forward to next one? Is it going to be more sustainable in this way? I bet it is.

It is also not helping that social media simply feed news and pictures of successful persons to us. Obviously, we follow people who are successful in the first place — successful businessmen, singers, actors, activists, sportsmen, etc. And if you happen to be in the same profession as them, will that actually cause you to doubt yourself whether you are able to make it like them? Will you doubt your choice and liking of the activity in the first place? Or will it, in fact, give you the motivation to be like them? Clearly, the very successful people subscribe to the latter. But you need to find the way to make yourself fall in that case, and comparing is never the answer. It’s you.

I have to be honest to say, it’s tough, and I am finding a way out of this cycle. You are likely to think of things you want to do, and really like, when you’re bored of things you have on hand. Personally, I am a guitar and tennis lover. I have strong inclination toward music since young, and sports probably in the later part of my life. But comparing and competing got the better of me, as I mentioned above, and I am in no way good at all those. I tend to blame the lack of exposure since young, fueled by envy. But now that I have the exposure and the resources to do so, it hurts so much to man up and take the lead to make myself better. For that reason, in playing the trumpet, the guitar, swimming, tennis, cycling, I often really feel like slapping myself for the lack of discipline and the tenacity to pursue them.

One may think that at least I am doing well in studies. Well.. No. Perhaps it is just me, but telling people that you are smart during introduction doesn’t quite explain who you are. Moreover, there are plenty of intelligent people, but only a handful of successful ones — that is, at often times, people we follow on social media.

As the mood and attention to surroundings start to fall, dark thoughts, embarrassing moments and reminiscence come up like a stealthy blow to the back of the brain. But I believe at the lowest, there’s no way around but back up. As I always believe in a glimmer of hope, a lighted splint, a beacon of light, like a tiny slash on the flesh, to get your senses back together, to get well, and fight on, to see what you like doing in actualization, followed by a flash back planting a smirk on the face.

As a psychologist, nothing beats knowing what psychological processes are at play, yet falling to them at the same time. That’s why I’d be unlikely to into depression. But the effects of depression doesn’t care about who you are, or how knowledgeable you know about them. As long as you have a brain, you can suffer from the effects of depression.

The ramifications of holding negative thoughts could be addictive. It is as though wondering what will happen should certain events take place, e.g. punching someone in the face without reason. However, actually committing such crime is another issue altogether. I wonder if there is such a thing as voluntary imprisonment, and whether it solves problem for people like me. Nevertheless and regardless, it is time to pinch myself, build some regime, and smash those negativity. If I can think of the way to get out, I know that there is a way out. So can you. Don’t give up.

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