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.
My 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.
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?
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.