We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Around every New Year's Day, or, if I procrastinate, sometime before the end of January, I tend to do a little personal inventory.
I know what I am pretty good at: my work, raising kids, being a wife, being a friend, skiing, shooting, tennis, golf, sailing, reading, and a few other things too. But I force myself to take time to focus on the things I am bad at. I wonder whether they are amenable to improvement, or whether they are hopeless.
As one grows older, more flaws and weaknesses move from the "Maybe Improveable" into the "Hopeless" category. The reality of one's limits sinks in by repeatedly bumping into reality, one's identity clarifies itself, and one's humility deepens.
Here are just a few of the things I stink at, and which have been contemplating this January:
Being a leader. I am a natural born non-leader. Not a follower by any means (in fact, a lousy follower too), but utterly lacking in leadership skills or talents. When I say "Follow me!" nobody follows. And when somebody else says "Follow me!" I say "Wait a minute, and let me think about it."
Being an executive. I am terrible at running things, and the things I get involved with running only work when the others take initiative. I am terrible at making organizational decisions except at the most elementary level, and I am a complete retard with office politics. I care enough, but I can't make things happen. Plus I detest going to meetings. They make me squirrely.
Paperwork. I derive no pleasure or satisfaction from getting it done, and, despite years of determination, I find myself still making excuses to avoid it.
Writing.I give plenty of talks and lectures, and do that well enough to convey information. I have plenty of ideas and things I think are worth writing about, but I lack the talent to write in memorable or engaging ways. I am at my best speaking off the cuff. And it's not that I dislike writing. I like to write things. I just never like the way it comes off on paper. Dull and pedantic, even when I try to write casual. That's partly why I do not post more regularly here. I am never even half-satisfied with what I put on paper. I have written a number of posts for Maggie's, read them the next day, said "That's lame," and pushed "delete."
Phone calls. Unlike most women, I hate the phone. I avoid the phone. Basically, I will not make phone calls except under duress. I cannot get over this flaw. Maybe it's because I spend my days talking to people, but that sounds like an excuse. Anyhow, email is what makes my life function nowadays.
You are not alone in the phone thing. I can let a phone ring off the hook. I have to wait for the right 'head space' to make a phone call, and if I can't get into that space, I take a dose of Ritalin to do it.
I am very bad at ending things with people who are not good for me. As a result, I suffer way too long before I can get things right; and I usually manipulate the situation so that the other person will end it. As an INFJ I guess that's classic.
I hear you on the phone thing. It is a good day at work when I get no calls at all. In our office, I divide the employees into e-mail people and phone people. Most people prefer one to the other in varying degrees. Then again, I am an INTP.
Very good point, Sissy, but the same holds true for email. Many people can't convey tone through email. ooweee...the fights over cyberspace over emails.
What I can't stand are the clueless people who call to 'chat' and tell me all kinds of stuff about people I don't know or will ever know. There are people who just don't get it when it comes to boring another. I take responsibility for not knowing how to disengage because I fear being rude. ugh... It took me 8 teddy bears before I could force myself to hang up on the State Police soliciting money for their foundation.
The things you're good at is a pretty impressive list, and if you are really good at all those things, it's a pretty big list too.
The good list also contains some of the really important things. By comparison, the bad list is junk. Be happy!
I share your lack of satisfaction with the end result on paper. It's not so rare. You cannot produce, particularly in a blog format, something exceptional, or incisive or earthshattering all the time. Very few people truly have the talent to produce magic on paper.
Having said all that, your post stood out. Why? Honesty and originality. Just keep doing that, your audience will be content.
I spent 30 years in communications and know what you mean.
A suggestion I used when training writers: always read aloud what you write --- several times. Good writing resembles conversation and has a rhythm. It's similar to a great song; you can dance to it. If you're a good speaker, you can be an excellent writer. Public speaking is much more difficult.
As to the phone: "I'm sorry, you've caught me at a bad time. Can we talk later?" You aren't promising to call them back. If it's a salesperson, just say you've already given/purchased. You're not saying to what or whom; you've simply "already given/purchased." Thank them "very much" and hang up. It's a risk they take by making a cold call.
For chatty people, try making a phone appointment for a "better" time at a later date. They may have worn out their gossip gene by that time.
No suggestions on paperwork; it's my buggaboo, too.
Good advice on the writing. When I taught, I'd read the top three essays aloud to the class each week. I made it a point of saying something about the 'rhythm' and flow. Also made it a point to show how the essay came 'full circle' - the conclusion summed up with a match to the opening thesis. Conclusions were the hardest thing for them. But to 'hear' a good paper was a great teaching tool. So was it for the kids whose papers I read, and for sure, by the end of the semester, everyone had had an essay read aloud.