I read a forum thread about myself recently (that sounds weird and wrong) where someone described me as a ‘newbie’ (in the web industry) and then someone else replied saying that I’m not new, I just keep quiet about my activities.
As well as the fact that makes me sound like a drug dealer, I was intrigued by that comment. I’ve always had a policy of generally being pretty open online (I don’t do the TMI stuff like some people because, ick) but I’m not opposed to being asked anything in particular. To put it a more succinct way, I have no secrets…or at least no secrets that are interesting But at the same time, I realise that I don’t actually talk that much about what I do on a daily basis, or anything in particular that I’ve achieved. I think people share that kind of stuff for all kinds of reasons, mostly because they’re looking for praise, ranting, trying to prove a point or even trying to sell something.
I don’t feel the need to prove myself, and it’s extremely liberating. I believe arrogance is the worst personality trait, and I’m extremely lucky in that almost all of the people I interact with and work with aren’t the slightest bit arrogant. And a lot of them could be justifiably arrogant, because they’re smart and highly successful.
I can’t be justifiably arrogant. I get by. Some days I think I’ve come a long way, most days I’m frustrated that I haven’t achieved more in my life. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, of which I have absolutely none. There have been a lot of setbacks and challenges, and none more so than this year. This year continues to be a huge struggle for me and unfortunately the light I hoped was the end of the tunnel is actually just a few small breaks in the clouds from time to time. Being positive in the face of adversity and shrugging things off is not me. I will bitch until the grave, and probably beyond that, because I have a completely unrealistic – yet oddly optimistic – belief that everything should be perfect all the time. Instead of coming to terms with the fact that it won’t be, I strive for it. Almost everything I do is geared towards making something better.
I’m hyperproductive. It’s great because I can’t remember the last time I was bored, but it’s also terrible because I don’t know my own limits. A while back I read some advice which was: Don’t think about whether you want to do something or not. Just get on with it. Whilst it’s a great motivational idea for a lot of people, it wasn’t good advice for me. I burned out extremely quickly because, as weird as it sounds, I just couldn’t keep up with myself. I was constantly exhausted. The only way I make it through the sheer amount of things to do in any particular day is to rely on a series of lists, and simply adding more tasks to the pile without organisation really messed everything up. I know, I’m such a control freak. Joe is forever trying to get me to relax, but when there’s always so much more stuff to be done I find it impossible to do nothing. When I think back to how lazy I was when I was a student and how I didn’t appreciate the time I had at all, it still amazes me.
Fundamentally, I do just get on with things anyway. I don’t feel the need to dissect the tiny aspects of everything I’m about to do or have just done because it just doesn’t interest me. If you’re trying to talk to me about something passive, like a TV show, you aren’t going to be able to hold my attention for very long. On the other hand, if you’re bringing up topics like how to gauge success or the best way to improve something, I will happily listen/debate for hours. The trick is not to get me on a topic that I feel insanely strongly about, or you’ll be grey before you know it.
I don’t really have much patience for long email threads or forum discussions or things which have a tendency to go round and round in circles. I much prefer to be getting on with stuff. Jumping around conversation topics
But there’s a lot to be said for the merits of getting stuff done. I’ve never been one of those ‘Look at me! Hey, over here!’ types of people who tend to be the ones who like to get involved in endless pointless email chains and start deliberately stupid controversial debates. I only appreciate compliments from people I respect, and I don’t compete for attention. That’s just the way I am. If you overlook me, you overlook me. If you want to spend time with me, I always make time and you know where I am. Just go for it.