As I look at others who seem to be their authentic selves, I see the value in them and what they offer to the world. Then I ask what am I contributing? Where does my value lie? Also I wonder if they feel they are being their authentic selves and they just never think about these things the way I do?
If I compare myself to others, I will be either vain or discontent, because there will always be someone who seems to be greater or lesser than I am.
But the focus should not be on comparing myself to others (Tell that to the mean little negative guy on my shoulder!). I should be focused on how to best use my gifts and talents to share with and benefit others as well as myself.
I was in a woodworking school for about three months before I had to quit. During that time, several of us had to make a project under certain general guidelines, but we could get a little creative with it.
I compared my finished project with the others and immediately saw the value in each of their projects. And I felt discontent with mine. But other people said they liked mine. They saw value in it.
Essentially, I was devaluing my project and my ability. My finished project wasn’t the best one but it was good. I should have been grateful for the opportunity to learn and for the gift of being good with my hands to build something.
I should not have devalued my project and put theirs on a pedestal. The exercise was not a competition. It was merely an exercise to teach us basic skills and make us confident in that aspect of woodworking.
Sometimes I think I have to be the best to be worthy. So, in my own mind, if I’m not the best, I’m not good enough or I am worthless or I have no value. I don’t know where that comes from but I’m working on it.
I’ve often felt like I’m good at a few things but I’m not really great or best at anything. But I’m a designer, musician, furniture maker, song writer, photographer, translator, singer athlete, driver, scrabbler (I just threw that one in there), traveler, etc., in the sense that I have interest in all those things and I have done a little of each.
“Greatest Ever Scrabbler (to my left), according to her. (Of course, I never told her that I was always playing her soft.)
(Out of concern for her privacy, I have covered her face.)
My life is rich in many ways because it entails all these interests.
Am I well-known for any of these things? No.
Am I doing all of these things at a professional level? No (with the exception of translation and a few musical episodes).
But it’s up to me to take them as far as I want to go with them.
Maybe one of these gifts will eventually surface above the others as my one purpose or passion in life emerges and maybe not.
Maybe that’s all I need. To know a little about a lot of things. Maybe that’s my end purpose. Some people seem to know exactly what they want. But I don’t know yet. It’s elusive to me.
Perhaps there won’t be just one big passion for me to follow. There might be many. Maybe, for me (and other scanners), learning new things and challenging myself is what makes me happy. Then I move on.
As Barbara Sher says, on page 54, in her book titled, “Refuse To Choose”………………….“How would it feel to forget about finding your big passion and enjoy the delightful fact that you can learn anything you like and your life will be filled with variety and excitement?”.….
Maybe my scanner’s path is simply to honor and appreciate my love of learning, experiencing, discovering and creating.
After I designed and built the boat desk for my kids, I veraciously read and studied wood magazines and wood books and I got a little better and more knowledgeable and my chosen projects got a little more complex and better.
Checkout the entertainment center I designed and built for myself:
Looking back on the time I spent designing and building this, hours would go by quickly before I even noticed it.
I was following my bliss and it was delightful and exciting. I was really in the present moment. That’s a good feeling.