“If you only try hard enough you can do anything” (and should!) is the message I grew up with.
This translated in my brain as “If you don’t succeed, it is due to lack of effort on your part” or “If you stop trying, you are being lazy and self indulgent”. I am not sure if anyone actually said those things to me, but the message was clear and very black and white. It was meant to be empowering and motivational, but mostly left me kicking myself for being lazy and not putting in enough effort. There was no reference in this world view to interests, passion, intrinsic motivation, an understanding of what is going on, knowledge, skills, time, resources, support, education, experience, asking for help, or taking care of myself.
For a very long time I tried relatively easy things only; which went OK, and were garbage by my standards. I graduated from college and coasted at work keeping the ship of IT support just above water, feeling like an impostor and a failure. I hear this is normal (impostor syndrome). Then for a while I did not try anything hard that I didn’t already know how to do, unless I had absolutely no choice.In the last few years, a bunch of wildfire projects of progressing complexity sprang up. Despite being passionate about them, I failed to execute them as per my vision. Those that existed as part of other structures worked; my own from-scratch systems did not: failure once again, at least by conventional accomplishment-based metrics. [Read more…] about If You Only Try Hard Enough