Idle Curiosity

Lately I have been fascinated with this word: “efficacy”. Not only is it fun to say, but efficacy, in itself, is an interesting concept. Defining it in my own words, efficacy basically means that one has capability in doing whatever it is they are doing and are confident that they can do it well.

Last night I took a quiz to see how I rated according to each one of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The results suggested that a greater degree of mastery in one area or occupation could help me become more self-actualized. Hmmm…

I do have the type of personality that lends itself to being a “jack of all trades; master of none”. I am interested in so many things that the thought of devoting all my time to attaining mastery in one area of life and letting other interests fall by the wayside seems devastatingly dull to me. I suppose that being a Renaissance woman, however, does not help one to excel.

Nor does my preference to “stop and smell the roses”. I don’t want to just smell them… I want to go on the internet and learn how many different varieties of roses there are, how to plant them, how to harvest them for their rose hips which can be manufactured in vitamin C capsules, what a “rose hip” is anyway… until I’ve satisfied my curiosity wanderlust through the internet rabbit trail from “artichokes” to “zygotes”. Hardly a recipe for learning how to focus on excelling at any one thing.

Am I really rabidly curious or just procrastinating? Often a little bit of both. Perhaps this is where the term “idle curiosity” comes from… when you quest to “know” produces no result other than to serve as a stalling device.

I suppose that this is why, when I re-enter a world of reality, I am often hit with a crippling sense of incompetence. Striving to learn everything quickly has the ironic effect of leaving me with nothing but feeling like a boob.

I take some measure of comfort, however, in knowing that I am growing–slowly and painfully–into some form of maturity and common sense. I am learning by the mistakes I have made in life, especially as it pertains to where I have directed (or failed to direct) my motivations and what I can do about that now. It is painful for me to lack a feeling of efficacy in many things (even if I am capable of more than I realize) and my heart hurts for anyone who understands how I feel. But it’s all a part of the process of growth; when learning to do something I fall down, feel the pain, get up, do it again, get better. This way my curiosity will no longer be “idle”; I learn by experience and will eventually become… efficacious.

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

Maybe… or maybe not so much.

There’s always that one person that, deep down, you just know doesn’t like you. You’re not sure just why, especially since you’ve been nothing but nice to them and would like to be friends… it’s just that this person gives off this vibe that they are too good to give you the time of day. They are nice and polite as the situation requires, but you know that this person wishes for the association to not go beyond that.

It’s that thing that you (yes, I) just don’t understand. You’re likeable, darn it!

Yes… and your friends and the others who care about you think so, too. They see your intrinsic worth, are in your corner, and are the only ones you need to care about. Not that one person who comprises part of the… maybe, 3.33% of people who don’t care for you. Last I checked, there is no rule existing in the world today which tells me that I have to like every person in this world, just as there is no rule which tells them that they have to like me. Decency, however, requires that I treat even those I don’t like with common respect.

Therefore, it is probably wise to distinguish between those are nice to you because they are truly invested in you and those who are nice to you because they have to be. As for the latter, respect their wishes and respect yourself by leaving them alone. You would want those you don’t care for to show you the same courtesy. Right?

Failure…

A word nobody likes. Failure is a word that carries negative connotations; just thinking about it feels like a personal identification. It certainly isn’t something that we dare give ourselves permission to do… and yet failure is just another reality of life, much like nervousness, death, taxes, passing gas, waiting in line… add your own example here.

Where did most of us get this obsession with always doing things right ALL the time? Where did I get it? When did I stop enjoying life and start being afraid all the time? I surely don’t remember having baggage like this when I was a kid.

It starts by believing a lie… one so subtle you hardly know it’s there. It may even feel like your own thought. Hey you, Stupid. Way to go on forgetting to take that quiz on Friday. Your professor is really gonna think you’re an idiot now. The voice may sound like your mother or father, your supervisor, or your friend (or enemy). And chances are pretty good that, if you allow that voice to ring unchecked in your head long enough, you will become the lie.

By telling ourselves that we better not fail, we not only set ourselves up for it but make it all the more devastating when it happens. By telling ourselves not to feel afraid, we strengthen fear within ourselves. By telling ourselves not to eat that thing, we crave it even more. With all these things we are not giving ourselves permission to feel and to do, we make them stronger… kind of like giving your adversary extra lives in a video game.

I dare you to give yourself permission to do what you’ve been wanting to do for the longest time but have not had the courage to do. I dare you to say “You’re wrong!” to that voice that tells you that you’re a loser, whether that voice belongs to a real person or not. I dare you do the best you can with something, fall flat on your face, feel the humility which comes from it, and get up and do it again and again. I dare you to listen to the lies, see them for what they really are, laugh at them, and walk away. I also dare you to eat that cookie.

Don’t see failure, or fear, or certain other things as your enemies; see them as your friends and learn to grow stronger in spite of them. When you do, you will disarm these things if their power to hurt you and you will truly be a rockstar.