On getting hung up on the obvious, doing what is expected and adjusting to fit.
Making a career out of something that you think you’re good at is an obvious choice. It seems like the easiest and sensible thing to do. So you invest time and money into it, not forgetting the emotional and physical commitment. It’s all you think about and it’s all you talk about. It becomes a conversation starter when you’re socially awkward or you want to be heard. The truth is having any direction is better than none at all. It gives you a sense of purpose or lets use a trendier phrase…’a sense of agency’. But what happens when it becomes unfulfilling even when the money is good? No project or commitment is easy, but doing what is right for you should feel natural – the way you are in your most mundane moments. It alludes to the things you do proactively, not out of obligation.
Doing what you’re good at usually implies a learned skill, process, method or behavior that is repeated self-consciously. Doing what feels natural happens intuitively without preconditioned notions or behaviors and is usually repeated unselfconsciously.
“How did all this come about? Have I done something wrong?”
The drama sometimes starts during childhood. Certain traits and talents become obvious to people around you and they make you conscious of it. In my experience I was always good at drawing but not conscious of it. Until people around me started pointing it out. Then I became a ‘something’. I was cloaked in the identity of an artist and a ‘talented’ person. I did become interested in other things as I got older, but felt obliged to live through that artist identity instead. It was created for me and accepted by me because it made total sense, ie. I was indeed a good drawer. As an adult it never brought me lots of money or happiness. It does come naturally, but it doesn’t feel like my true nature. My true nature is the stuff I do to pursue and feed that artistic thing. It’s the fact that I write more about it than actually doing it. My true nature is in the advice I give and observations I make about it rather than being in the process of making.
Its nothing new, we always rise to the wrong occassion.
Does one need to be swapped out for the other? Be aware of how they co-exist. They should be nurtured in tandem. Be aware of what you’re practically good at that gives you a sense of purpose. Also be aware of the things that don’t require a learned process or behavior. Using my example – drawing constantly is just a learned behavior we discover for ourselves and which we interrogate through repetition. Then an expert teaches us techniques that facilitate that repetition until we eventually master it. So this becomes the thing that we’re good at. It’s not my true nature. It only creates a sense of belonging because you’re adding to a conversation. That’s important, but so is what makes us feel independent and fulfilled .
Being aware of the differences can improve the quality of your life
not just financially but emotionally as well.
What is the solution for you? Observe what you’re doing related to the ‘thing you’re good at’. During those moments, what would you rather be doing instead? Pretend money isn’t an issue and that everything is free. Don’t think about what you ‘would like to be doing’. What are you doing? Write it down.
Your true nature should feel effortless and every repetition of it should feel like the first time, ie. like ‘it never gets old’. That is the essence of a career that is right for you. For example again, I am always writing about what I’m going to draw through lists and research. I’m always decluttering without motivation, meaning I love clarity. So I’m always looking for information and ‘know-how’. I do this spontaneously and without financial motivation. I use it as an excuse to avoid drawing. I can do it well, but on a psycho-emotional level my true nature is that of a searcher.
I’m not a collector of art materials but a hunter and gatherer of information.