Monday, September 3, 2012

Things I'm Good at

I have been spending considerable time lately doing things I'm not good at doing. I've also been spending considerable time lately doing things I am good at doing.

Doing the latter is vastly more satisfying than doing the former.

I used to think that maybe it was good for the soul to do things that I was bad at doing; maybe that would challenge me, help me develop hitherto hidden talents, keep certain neural pathways in my brain from further atrophying, or at least build character. I no longer think that. I now think that life is too short to spend doing things I'm terrible at (all of which also happen to be things I hate doing, although I appreciate others' talents at all of these; indeed, I'm weak with gratitude for other people's talents in all these areas). This is especially true when there are so many other ways I can make a contribution to the universe, doing things that I adore.

Here are some things I am bad at:
1. anything to do with money-related math, from trying to count up the offering after a church service to balancing a checkbook to budgeting for the conference I am currently organizing
2. detailed logistical planning for a big event
3. driving (especially avoiding trash trucks at intersections)
4. cooking
5. dealing with any interpersonal conflict whatsoever
6. dressing fashionably
7. computers/technology/Power Point/using the features of a "smart" classroom
8. writing certain kinds of "industrial-strength" analytic philosophy (once I was actually good at this, but I think the neural pathways in that part of my brain are pretty well shot at this point)
9. performing any kind of music in public (piano, bell choir)
10. all sports except walking

Here are some things I am good at:
1. writing children's books
2. critiquing other people's children's book manuscripts in an insightful and supportive way
3. time management
4. giving inspirational talks on time management
5. revising other people's law school essays, with special strengths in cutting texts to the required length
6. teaching about anything that I love
7. mentoring students
8. preaching the occasional sermon
9. making voices for stuffed animals
10. keeping a fairly positive outlook on life despite various setbacks (though lately I'm less good at this than I used to be, which makes me think that I also need to work harder at avoiding the setbacks in the first place)

There are many more things I am bad at and good at, but right now I have a balanced list with ten items in each list, so I might as well stop there. The point of this post is to announce to the world that starting as soon as possible, I plan to focus my energies on what I'm good at.

Okay, world, so now you know!


  1. Claudia, I wish we were neighbors. You could make up voices for stuffed animals and I could cook. We'd leave the math to someone else-- oh, as well as the driving (I'm bad at that, too) Here's to sunnier days ahead!

  2. Oh, I wish that, too, Maribeth!