Five Traits I'm In The Process of Developing
I am hungry. I am hungry for knowledge, for experience. I strongly believe learning is a life-long pursuit. I don’t believe learning should ever stop - not when you graduate, not when you get a promotion, not after you learn a new skill, never. And that is not a discouragement, it is an excitement, a joy! Part of learning is recognizing what I excel at (find my top three skills post here) and where I could use improvement. The following are traits I am in the process of building and enhancing.
Confidence in the Unknown.
Planning and organization have always played a huge role in my life. I am goal-driven and like to have an end target in my sights. To me, taking a step back and accepting the uncertainty of the future is a daunting proposition, and something I am still working on. However, I have found uncertainty of the end does not mean a lack of goals. Rather, it means setting your goals and actively pursuing them but approaching life with flexibility and adaptability. Defining goals, but always being ready for a change. Finding joy in the journey is a continual process for me, but I am working on it by embracing exploration and curiosity and the mindset of what can I learn from others more advanced than myself.
Accepting the Good.
Perfectionism is poison. “The perfect is the enemy of the good,” could not be truer. I often get tripped up by perfectionism - maybe I do not want to publish that blog post, I will get stuck editing a picture, or not sign up for that new class at the gym. I have been a perfectionist at heart since childhood, but I am learning to overcome it. However, ditching perfectionism does not mean abandoning excellence. Perfectionism is the evil twin of excellence - distorting itself to make you believe it is positive and “right.” Perfectionism not only wastes swaths of time, but it is also self-sabotaging. Instead of leading to a perfect outcome, it more often than not leads to stress, overwhelm, and lack of productivity. Now when I start feeling perfectionism creeping in, I take a break and come back to my work with fresh eyes, or I ask for someone else's opinion to get out of my head. I am working on accepting the great not agonizing for the perfect.
Comparison As a Healthy Tool.
I once heard the quote, “use comparison as a tool to drive improvement, not to define your self-worth.” It stuck with me. It is oh so easy for me to look at the people around me and start feeling anxious or insufficient. Instead of viewing others in a negative light, I have started to think what can I learn from this person?
Not too long ago I took part in a media fast for sixty days - no social media of any form (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), no TV, no movies. It not only provided valuable insight into my productivity habits and time management, but it freed me from comparison. Social media can be a double-edged sword, a breeding ground for negativity or a place of celebration and inspiration.
In this process of finding healthy comparison, I seek to feel inspired by others to celebrate their victories with them and to ask what can I learn from their experience?
I seek to pursue life with curiosity. Due to my unconventional upbringing, enticement and excitement about the workings of the world me have been encouraged since childhood. But it is something I want to continually work at growing. I believe curiosity has to be continually cultivated or it will begin to fade. Currently, I am developing curiosity through reading various books and making it a habit to ask questions to people around me with more experience than myself.
When I initially started photography, I cold emailed over twenty local photographers asking to meet and pick their brains about their craft. I continued until I met with almost ten. This led to more insight into photography than I could ever find on Google along with several opportunities including two internships
I want to continually grow my curiosity into new areas - and never let my wonder of the world around me go stale.
I go about my daily life so often ignoring the strangers around me. I am challenging myself to smile at every stranger I meet. I strive to embrace a kind boldness - to tell that stranger I like their hairstyle or that they are slaying that outfit. It is easy for me to get lost in my own world and forget the strangers around me have the same difficulties and worries. Disrupt the cycle of passivity with unexpected kindness. After all, you never know who you might meet of what interesting conversations it may lead to.
I am excited to continue the life-long process of growing and learning. I view these five traits as a challenge to improve and better myself daily!