Monday, July 30, 2012

What do you suck at?

I've been thinking for a while of starting back up with the blogging and using prompts to do so. This is an easy one, so here we go. Danille LaPorte wrote a post today about the things she sucks at*. She says:
When you cop to your shortcomings a number of wonderful things can happen. You become more accessible to the people around you, you invite other people to step up and shine, and you create space for support to come into your life — you actually don’t have to be awesome at everything. Go figure. Mostly, when you approve of your weaknesses, you give yourself permission to pursue your genius.
Here is what I suck at: 

1. Like Danielle, I suck at brainstorming in groups.  I don't think well under pressure and I don't feel comfortable shouting out half-baked ideas that may or may not stick. I like to mull things over and craft them carefully and then suggest them.

2. I suck at learning when it involves being told how by someone else. That stresses me out and instead of hearing what the person is saying, I start to just hear "words words words." I learn best by reading the manual, the textbook, the how-to guide.

3. I suck at numbers and money. I could not tell you how much I make. I  know roughly, give or take a couple grand, but I have no idea of the exact amount. I just don't remember. It's a number and therefore it falls right out of my brain. I think I remember what we paid for our condo, but I may have that wrong. It's a number. It just doesn't stick. I have learned tricks for certain things like figuring out the tip. (Even I can figure out 10% and double that. Usually.)

4. I suck at concentrating when there are any distractions at all. I cannot simply tune out a TV, a radio, a conversation, gum smacking. Even if I have zero interest in what I can hear, I am unable to ignore it. So, while some people like to work in cafes because the hum of activity is like white noise to them, to me that is not an ideal environment at all. I need absolute silence to concentrate.

These are some difficult things to admit to! All of the things I suck at are considered faults in many circles. But why? Everyone cannot excel at everything. Why not just concentrate on what we're good at and admit that we need help with the other stuff?

Some may consider these things character flaws, and maybe they are, but I prefer to think of them as what makes me the person I am. I am fairly honest about these "flaws," except for the first one, perhaps, in a work setting. Not being particularly good at group brainstorming is not something I choose to advertise at my job, but certainly when I am in a situation where it must be done, I do my best. And the rest of the time, I delicately avoid putting myself in those types of situations.

The difficulty with "flaw" #2 is that people who learn just fine orally can't comprehend that others do not learn best that way. So, they often tend to continue to teach in such a manner, despite my best efforts to ask them to pleeeease write a how-to guide also or instead. If they want to talk me through it, fine, but then for the love of god, please write a how-to guide also.

I am very lucky to have a husband who manages our money for us. At the beginning of our marriage I was patently against him doing so because it seemed like an affront to feminism. But guess what, it has nothing to do with feminism. He happens to be good with math and numbers and all that crap and I am not. It's not because I'm a girl. It's just the way I am. I admit it! It's so much easier now that I admit it. (I didn't use to.)

Unfortunately, one aspect of my job involves liaising with the editors who sit around me, so on one hand it's useful for me to hear their chit-chat, but when I need to concentrate, boy do their conversations drive me up the wall. But thank goodness for Spotify. If I need to tune them out, I just listen to classical music (no vocals, of course).

(*The grammar of this phrase bugs me, but "at what do you suck" does sound pretty clumsy, so I'll let it stand.)