My favorite thing that I have always sucked at

Published November 28, 2016   Posted in Having some fun

I have come to the realization that there are a great many things in life that I suck at. Just, totally screw the pooch on. Things like building a winning fantasy football team, or identifying strange mixes of color (“Oh, that’s a fuchsia blend with coquelicot, with a splash of sarcoline”). Yeah, that does not happen. “It looks tan.”

I’ve already recounted some of my past mistakes. I’m not perfect. In fact, I am a deeply flawed human, capable of incredible feats of stupidity, coupled with amazing performances of sheer idiocy – generally atop a solid foundation of being just plain weird. I am convinced this is why my wife married me. I hope.

Long story short, I suck at stuff. But, there’s one thing that I’ve always sucked at in life that I’ve come to appreciate more and more over the course of my years stumbling my way around this little planet of ours.

I suck at this, and I’m proud of it

I suck at maintaining a balance in my life when I’m pursuing one of my new ideas.

For example, I was completely consumed with creating content for this blog right after I sent the first post flying into the digital airwaves. It was all I could do to pull myself away from writing more stuff. I was completely consumed. Everything I thought about somehow related to the blog.

We’d be at the grocery store and I’d notice a $20 loaf of bread. “Who buys this stuff? That would make a great article!”. Expensive cars driving down the road, coworkers bitching about their lives, stock market volatility – nearly everything about my life was turned into a possible blog post.

Milton from Office SpaceMy subconscious was working overtime. And trust me, that sucker doesn’t have very many brain cycles to spare. Think “Milton” in Office Space. Maybe without the glasses. “Reasonable volume…” and all that.

And now, there’s something else.

Rockstar Finance released a discussion forum. I dig discussion forums. Talking with people. Getting ideas. Supporting one another. I love the whole life-enveloping experience of chatting online.

Confession: I met my wife online.

Once upon a time (two weeks ago!), I would go to bed and read whenever my wife decided that it was bed time. We’d read for 45 minutes to an hour, then lights out. It was a comfortable routine.

Now, she’s reading in bed while I’m sitting here in front of the computer getting caught up on discussions. Imagine a dark room (basically, our entire Airstream) with a gentle white glow emanating from a monitor with some nerdy stooge speed typing away. Yeah, that’s me.

Just one more reply, Steve – then you need to go to bed.”

Five more replies sent. “Okay Steve, seriously this time. You need to read. You’ve almost finished your book. Let’s do this!

Three more sent. Shiiiiiiiiiiiit.

This can’t be good. And I do this with almost everything, too.

For example, several years ago, a few buddies and I started a small business. We designed a scheduling application to help hospitals manage their doctors’ shifts. We routinely coded well into the wee morning hours. 2am bed times were not uncommon. On work nights, too. We worked with a doctor we knew who believed in the project and gave us an “in” with a hospital administrator who managed doctor schedules.

This thing would organize and manage time off requests, observe circadian rhythm, balance holiday shifts per doctor throughout the year and even gave preference based on seniority. All automatically. It was an awesome project, but ultimately, the project didn’t work out.

Another example: Working out at the gym. I love working out. I love fitness. For the past six years, I’ve been at the gym 5 to 6 days a week, every week (except when on vacation). In the past, I’d go 7 days a week, and occasionally you’d find me at the gym multiple times a day.

Good lord I’m obsessive.

A photo I took as a photographer at a wedding

A photo I took as a photographer at a wedding

Can this turn into a “good”?

My goal has always been to turn my natural tendency to obsess over my ideas and the things that I’m involved with into a positive. A work/life balance is critical to good relationships and a healthy mind. But here I sit, writing yet another blog post with the Rockstar forums open in another browser tab!

I’ve written around 380 total blog posts in two years. Is that good? Or way too many? I know many of you have written more, and that truly impresses me. Do what you like doing, right?

I like this stuff. Clearly, I spend a ton of time doing it. Ultimately, I think my tendency to jump in head first has been a good thing in my life, something that’s propelled me past the “should I?” phase into “Well, at least I tried”. Nothing ventured, nothing gained?

This is probably why I can so easily recognize the things that no longer make me happy. Full-time work, for example, is something that I generally dread. I have so many other things that I could be doing (like writing even MORE blog posts), but I can’t because of my job.

If I liked my job this industry, I would treat it like I do my blog because, well, that’s how I roll. Work ideas would float around me like dust blown from an old fan. It would legit bring a smile to my face.

Legit…that’s what the kids say these days, yes? Legit?

But, work doesn’t do that for me. Not any more. I obsess over other things, and I love it. I love going after ideas full steam ahead when they interest me. Motivation has never been a problem.

The balance part, however…

What about you? Is there something that you suck at that you’ve successfully turned into a positive in your life? 

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37 responses to “My favorite thing that I have always sucked at”

  1. Fun article, Steve! Well, I suck at sleeping. It’s about 2:20AM in San Diego and I’m wired like it’s noon time. 🙂 The good thing is that I get a lot of things done during these wee hours as I’m usually pre-occupied with kids during the day. Although my wife would disagree vehemently, I think sleep is overrated. There are too many cool things to read, write about, and experience, that require me to be awake.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Michael! I know how you feel sometimes – I can wake up in the middle of the night and feel like I can play a game of dodgeball just fine. 🙂

      Sleep is overrated! Yes, we all need sleep, but we all need *different amounts of sleep*, too. You and I evidently need less. 🙂

  2. I am right there with you on this one Steve! Like you said, the biggest benefit is that at least we give a lot of effort on things and rarely have to say we didn’t try hard enough. But it definitely can affect balance in life so it’s good to have that person to keep you in “check” 😉 I totally suck at cooking but I’ll do the gym/workout thing too. We are working hard now at improving our cooking/menu to be more healthy and that is a way to balance the double workouts! So much about fitness/health has to do with food – and we were sucking at that. Still a work in progress though!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Vicki! I totally agree about diet and food being a huge part of fitness. Working out is only a part of the overall health picture. Diets are HUGE influencers, too. In fact, they are arguably more important…but I definitely don’t enjoy cooking nearly as much as I enjoy going to the gym! 🙂

  3. Good post Steve. I think it’s a good quality that you really get into what you’re doing. Being passionate about something is a heck of a lot better than doing it half ass. I’m the same as you in that I really get into the things I set out to do. My issue is I struggle to focus on one or two things. From blogging to golf to working out, and then work itself, It’s difficult to be all in on so many things. It really does make it difficult to strike a balance in life at times. But I would definitely rather be busy and consumed with something than the other way around.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Go F Yourself! “Being passionate about something is a heck of a lot better than doing it half ass.” – very well said, good sir. And yeah, nothing wrong with being busy. I just need to make sure that I don’t over-commit myself, too. That’s the balance.

  4. Steve, as you already know, we’re kindred spirits on this one! I had to laugh at your “$20 loaf of bread, hey, there’s a blog post there”. I’ve had the same obsession with my blog, and we now share a similar obsession with the awesome Rockstar Forum.

    And….we’re both tired of work.

    Soon, you’ll be leaving the work behind. I’m happy for you, and in 18 months I’ll be following you into FIRE. My goal is to redirect the free hours to more things I love, and not just spending 22 hours a day in the forum, or on my blog! Great post. See you in The Forum!
    Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto recently posted…The Best Money Advice Ever Received

    • Steve says:

      Hey Fritz! Yup, I definitely think we are kindred spirits on this one. We both go in 100% and make the best of whatever we happen to be doing. The forums are one such example, but certainly not the only one. I’m looking forward to finding out where all this new-found time takes me…and you!

  5. I have a friend who would always say that “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”. I’m not sure that’s right. I think we need to follow our passions and enjoy our obsessive selves when we are in the moment. I cannot think of anything that I really suck at, that I suddenly became good. No passion, no performance.

    • Steve says:

      Amen to that, MrFireStation! No passion, no performance indeed. Sure, I suppose that if something literally takes over your life that it would turn into a negative, but then again, I’d be surprised if anyone who’s successful in life didn’t at least have periods of time where their “work” consumed a good majority of their time. 🙂

  6. I definitely get obsessive about things, but I think you take the cake. My wife always gets nervous when I tell her I have an idea…she knows it will be my next obsession and I’m sure she’s also a bit nervous about how she may get roped into it too!

    I think that obsession did help me when I first entered the workforce. But like many things in life, burnout can set in. Time to move onto the next hobby / obsession…

    • Steve says:

      Ha! Yup, I’ve definitely felt the burnout too. It happens. I’ve learned to temper myself a little bit to help avoid burnout. Most of the time that works…but sometimes, I just jump in head first and hope for the best. 😉

  7. I suck at balance too. When I get interested in a project, I *focus*…and that means nearly everything else can get ignored. For hours or even days.

    While it’s probably not a good thing, I have to recognize that this is something I’m not in control of. I can put my head down and work on a project and without noticing 8 hours will have passed. I don’t do this on purpose, and it can be very frustrating for others.

    It’s not entirely bad though. Sometimes I end up consuming information that might be highly profitable

    • Steve says:

      Thanks for your comment, Mr. Tako! I agree, focusing hard-core for a period of time can definitely turn into something profitable…or at the very least, something enjoyable. It takes time to work out what “Balance” looks like, but once you find it, you’ll start humming along at a good pace.

  8. Hi Steve, your not the only one that dives full in when he picks up hobbies. I’m seeing it with the blog already. Just one more comment or post.

  9. Mr. SSC says:

    I do the same when starting new things. Same with the blog – all of a sudden everything around me was a blog idea! I suck at carrying a note pad or typing/speaking them into my phone to keep track of them.

    Also, finance. I SUCK at personal finance. Just last night I was talking with my PF soulmate in that we both have conversations with our wives that go along the lines of “But why not, we can afford it…” And the wives responses are to a tee – “Yes, but we don’t want to afford it.”

    I’ve gotten much better, but I still suck at not impulse buying and comfort buying. It’s almost like an addiction, I’ll go weeks or months without spending and then something triggers it and wham, I’ve binge spent most of my allowance. Go figure… If I’m not mindful about my spending it’s easy to get it out of whack.

    I’ve always said, “If it wasn’t for Mrs. SSC, I’d be your typical American, living paycheck to paycheck making a 6 figure income wondering where it is all going.” Thank goodness I didn’t suck at choosing a wife, on SO many levels. Whew!

    • Steve says:

      You and I are a lot alike! I’ve had times where I will go several weeks being super good with something, then I go off the deep end and wind up nullifying everything that I had accomplished up until that point. And yes, I’m sure that we both married UP. 🙂

  10. I think it’s all about having passion and motivation to do something, even if you think you suck at it. I still totally suck at sewing, but I’m definitely better at it now than I used to be! It’s all about knowing what you want and creating a plan to get there. 🙂

    Also, I’m just bad at math and I think that’s never going to change.

    • Steve says:

      Ah yes, math. That was always my weakest subject in school. But it’s true, the more you work at it, the better you become. My wife is a huge sew’er, too. I think one of theses days I’m getting a brand new pair of hand-crafted socks!

  11. Matt Spillar says:

    Very insightful post, I think sitting back and reflecting about ourselves like this is so important. In my opinion, it’s much better to jump into something full steam ahead rather than being wishy-washy about starting. Doesn’t seem like a negative quality, just seems like you’d need to be careful about getting burnt out. I identify with this a lot too. Another good thing is that you live a life with no regrets, because rather than having thoughts of “I wonder what this would be like” you’ve jumped in, given it your all, and gotten to see whether or not it was right for you.

    Btw, I can help you with building a winning fantasy football team, that’s something I’m too obsessive about lol 😉

    • Steve says:

      Totally agree, Matt – if you decided to do something, jump in and actually do it. Full assed, not half assed. And appreciate the offer about fantasy football! I had assumed Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb would have a killer season, but yeah, didn’t exactly work out that way. Boo! 🙂

  12. basil says:

    This article is totes legit, Steve. 😉

    My husband is obsessive too–it’s easy to see the negative side, but sometimes I envy his ability to focus in on just one project or goal for days or weeks at a time. Embrace it as a strength!

  13. Mrs. BITA says:

    I have that obsessive streak as well. Most of the time it is a positive thing, it makes me better at what I do. Other times though – not so much. e.g. towards the end of my last trimester of pregnancy the “nesting” instinct kicked it. I decided that it was imperative that our pantry and the insides of all our kitchen closets be appropriate labeled and sorted and boxed. I spent money on said labels and containers and hours obsessively getting the organization just perfect. Eventually my hormones stopped doing the crazy dance and I went right back to not giving a fuck about the organization of any of those things, and I’m not getting back either the money or the time I spent on that!

    • Steve says:

      Ha! Funny story, Mrs. BITA. I seem to be at a constant state of not giving a fuck about organization. My wife, on the other hand…

      Thanks for your comment. 😉

  14. Same here! I’m terrible at balance, and am equally blog-obsessed. And there’s so much more I’ll do once I don’t have that pesky work in the way. 😉

    • Steve says:

      Oh man, you and me both, Ms. ONL! I have a ton of writing to do as well as several other projects, but I *STILL* can’t yet devote all the time that they deserve because of my full-time job.


  15. I understand. Be careful about this habit in early retirement. I FIRE’d myself about 4 years ago, but then my sleep schedule went crazy. I slowly started staying up later and later, having a harder time falling asleep, and my schedule ended up being regularly falling asleep at 4am and then having to sleep in more than I would prefer. I won’t lie, it was attributed to poor nighttime physical habits like working out late in the evening, going to a coffee shop at 8pm for a cuppa joe or having a glowing computer screen on too late. Also, mental habits don’t help either, like reading online where there is endless information and writing late into the night, because I couldn’t sleep if I didn’t get it out of my head.

    I have since gone back to part time work in my professional field, which keeps me much more balanced. I take time off between projects to travel, which is when I totally sleep like a baby. 🙂

    • Steve says:

      Totally agree and appreciate the advice. We are morning people so I don’t see us staying up until 4am very much. I would anticipate our schedule remaining largely the same regarding *WHEN* we work on things during the day. Some days we might not work at all. Others will be more productive. Balance, like you’re saying, is key. 🙂

  16. I also have a very obsessive personality! It makes me good at saving money, but I’m glad that I have a husband who reminds me when it’s time to go to bed or eat a meal!

  17. This post describes my personality! I easily become enthralled by ideas and pursue them full steam ahead. I always said that an internship was the perfect length of time for a work obligation for me before I want to try something new. Unfortunately full time isn’t like that!

  18. Miss Mazuma says:

    I am the same way…as you know based on our competition for first responders to each post on the RSF forum! I pulled back this week in an effort to look like I have better things to do but I’m still there…lurking… 😜

    I find it is an excellent use of our brains capacity to go full steam ahead on something. Then when the steam runs out there’s another something boiling on the horizon. Bothing wrong with that! Unless, of course, it is work related and you bounce from job to be unable to pay bills. I think that’s the only downside I could see… Until then, full speed ahead!

    • Steve says:

      Amen to that, Miss Mazuma! I like your attitude about all this. It’s true, nothing wrong with blazing a trail of glory as we pursue our interests. Hopefully, it’ll make everything much more fun that way!

  19. HAHAHA, I could so relate to this!

    It really is an obsession, the moment I’m awake, I am already thinking about what’s the next thing to do, what’s the next step to take or what should I be working on today. Even if I am taking a break, it’s just physically, not mentally. My mind will be thinking about ideas or I will be using my phone to continue working.

    I too need to learn how to switch off, because you know… balance is key.

    • Steve says:

      Hehe, thanks T! It’s all too easy to go into things full steam ahead or keep looking for the next big thing. I just gotta take my time as much as possible and see things through to their natural ends. Then, we’ll be able to determine what’s actually been successful for us! 😉

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