I should really call these posts “Thursday Thoughts on Saturday” – it only takes me 3-4 minutes to ponder a topic on Thursday, but it takes me until Friday to pick which random thought I should write about and until Saturday to actually get a chance to write about it. (And in some rare cases, I wait until Monday to post it…) Nonetheless, I will continue to shoot for posting on Thursday night after work (but please understand if I can’t get the free time until Saturday!)
SO – If you’re human, you’ve undoubtedly questioned your own capabilities. We are capable of so many things, but I’m curious why we put limitations on ourselves and often underestimate our abilities.
Context: On Thursday of last week, I had a presentation at work. It was voluntary; I proposed the presentation to my boss and he thought it was a great idea. I thought it was a novel concept for a presentation, encouraging us to look at our data through a different lens. I found the content interesting, I have pretty good understanding of the techniques used (along with limitations of each,) and after reading the same publications about 10 times, I thought I understood what the data in each paper was claiming. But, when I attempted to put together a presentation, none of my ideas seemed to make sense to others. Frustrated, I began to question why I even volunteered for the presentation and what was wrong with me.
I have a hard time accepting being less than perfect at things I think I should be good at. Blogging isn’t my full-time job, it’s a hobby I picked up along my way through life, so I always welcome constructive criticism. Research and science are both a job and a passion – therefore, as someone who wants to pursue grad school, I emotionally struggle being bad at something as ‘easy’ as creating a presentation (not easy at all.)
But isn’t all this the reason I want to go back to school? In order to learn? Become good at something I wasn’t previously good at? When did professional public speaking and data analysis become a pre-req for grad school? Why am I expecting that out of myself?
I’m not really sure. It’s not that I’m not capable – I surely am. In fact, I’d say I’ve done quite well for myself compared to a lot of other people my age.
This is turning into a tangential rant, so let me just get to my questions:
- Do any of you also fall into the trap of expecting too much out of yourself and then doubting your capabilities en route to achieving them?
- How do you determine when expectations are “too high”?
- What (if any) is the distinguishable difference between pushing yourself to achieve and expecting too much?
- Where do you think the root of this issue lies? Ego? Self-confidence? Worthiness? Fear of failure?
- Any methods to justify that this self-perceived ‘failure’ is not equivalent to inadequacy?
Thanks for tolerating my rant/vent, it’s my hope that some of you can relate to these feelings in the present or future. As always, any insight, stories, or additional questions are welcomed, appreciated, and encouraged!
Until next time, keep your head up.