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C09P01 – Not what I expected

C09P01 – Not what I expected published on 11 Comments on C09P01 – Not what I expected

If you missed the news last update, I’m juggling some BIG changes and will temporarily be going to a reduced schedule. Mondays and Wednesdays will be comic days, and Fridays will be blog days where I answer questions, share development material, and discuss different aspects of storytelling. I hope you enjoy the new blog segment, and I appreciate your understanding during the transition!

Some of you got the impression that I was doing the I-quit-fling-my-life-to-fate thing that seems very dramatic and popular these days. That is not the case, although it would be a lot nicer on an emotional level. I’ll be keeping my job until A) I find a new one to transition to, B) I reach the end of the year, C) I’m fired. Hopefully the first one. That would be nice. That’s part of why I needed the extra time. LeyLines + Working Day Job + Looking For New Day Job = a very, very, very exhausted and crazy-pants Robin. More so than usual, anyway.

It’s a little strange for me, actually, as most of the Big Life Choices I’ve made usually HAVE utilized the Nuclear Bomb option of conflict resolution. Which is to say: Make stark decision, enforce stark decision, hide in emotional bunker for three months until fall-out settles. Actually trying to transition from one thing to another thing with grace is a very different and new approach for me. I’m not used to taking one step at a time. I usually just jump off a cliff and deal with problems as they all rush towards me at once. It’s given me some unique opportunities to have a new perspective on my life that I haven’t before.

One is the unexpected drawback to shoring up a weakness. While it’s good to build skills in areas where one is weak, I’ve taken the practice to such an extreme that I am actually often more skilled (i.e. practiced) at doing certain tasks than people who might be naturally good at them. This has the unfortunate side-effect of people assuming I ENJOY those tasks. Because, if I didn’t like them, why would I have learned to be good at them? Right? So I get assigned a lot of tasks that I deeply loathe by very well-meaning people that think, “You’re good at this! You’ll love this!” Then they don’t understand why I’m inefficient and deeply miserable. I can’t blame them. I didn’t understand it myself! Until I gained this recent new perspective of “I’m not suited to this career!” I always assumed that my inefficiency and emotional reaction was because I wasn’t good enough or strong enough to make myself love the tasks as much as they thought I should. Instead of recognizing the real problem, which is while I am plenty capable of completing a task that utilizes my weaknesses, it is more exhausting for me to do so than it would be if I enjoyed it or was naturally gifted in that area. It’s like I am a human being with a unique set of skills, brain chemistry, and physical limitations. Instead of mindless automaton that performs everything with equal perfection. What a concept!

I’m looking forward to observing my responses to things with more understanding and compassion. It doesn’t mean that I should stop doing things I’m weaker with — they’re important to get done too! But if I can identify what will drain energy and what will rejuvenate it, maybe I can manage my time and my mood more effectively. Got an energy-drainer coming up? Divide it into portions, and space it between energy-boosters. Don’t get discouraged if it’s a struggle – it’s not because I’m “no good,” but because I’m playing against my own skills. Be patient and don’t stress! Just take it a bit at a time until it’s done!

What is your advice for approaching energy-draining, weakness-based tasks?

11 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Oooo…new character introduction? Interesting.

I again wish you the best for not only finding something that agrees with your talent set, but that will bring you satisfaction and success!

My only real advice, you already seem to know – willpower is a finite resource that takes time and/or care to replenish.

Do fun things. Buy and eat foods you enjoy. Definitely get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, ask other people to do things for you, especially when they are okay with a task and you aren’t.

That said, I think I have a lot of the same problems you do in terms of looking kindly on my own shortcomings. It is difficult. I keep trying to learn.

I do know that willpower is a finite resource…but I never seem to REMEMBER that! So the reminder is always good. I was taught that The Strong had an infinite supply of willpower, but now I’m starting to believe that The Strong simply know how to manage their supply properly. So when they need it, they have it to call upon with full intensity. Since both of us struggle with this, good luck to each of us as we learn to do this better!!

Actually, breaking nasty tasks up makes them nastier. It’s the hedonic treadmill. After a certain amount of time (I think it’s about a half-hour), your emotions will return to their baseline level, and you won’t feel as strongly about it. The task might still be nasty, but if you take a break and start doing something you enjoy, your emotions will reset, and you’ll hate the nasty task as much as you did when starting, if not more.

Breaking *nice* tasks up, on the other hand, is a good idea, because then your pleasure doesn’t have a chance to even out.

BUT. Obviously don’t wear yourself out.

I really hope all this works out for you! (What am I saying. Of course it will. You’re too awesome for it not to work.)

Huh. That has not been my experience. If I have a nasty task and I do it all at once, I will usually not take breaks of any sort in the process. This includes eating, or going to the bathroom. The result is that bad tasks then seem to last forever, and I feel more and more incompetent and worthless. The real problem here is a lack of self-care and limitation management, in my case. Whereas, if I break it into specific tasks, then I have periodic feelings of accomplishment as I cross each piece off the list. Then I get to reward myself with the tasks I like, while simultaneously enforcing regular breaks.

Guess there is no one way!

(And if I had a list of things that did not work for me, that would be a very long list indeed.)

At work, I do certain optional* tasks every day, and people assume it is because I like it, but I only do them because I know they need done well, and I’m the best in those areas. My favorite tasks are the ones I suck at :p They’re fun to muck up!

*Not REALLY optional, cause SOMEONE is going to do it or else, but we can choose who that someone is to a certain extent.

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