The Potential Trap

When I was a kid I used to hate seeing “not working up to his potential” on my report cards. Really, whose business was that? I did the work you asked me to do. I demonstrated an understanding of the material and an ability to apply it practically, and I did so well enough to meet whatever standard you set to pass. The fact that I am unusually gifted shouldn’t impose a burden on me to knock every last ball out of the park.

I have a more mature attitude about that now. I try to remember that whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing (or “intelligence is a gift to be used for the greater good”, if you prefer Dr. Octopus’ version – and yes, “brilliant but lazy”). And I generally try to restrain my tendency to play John Galt – which is to say, to take my toys and go home if people don’t play by my rules.

But learning those new habits is a easier said than done.

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Building New Muscles

I think I’ve written here before about one of my big problems with my boss, which his insistence on going around me to get to my people.

I get that as my boss he has the right to assign work to my people. I work for him, they work for me, therefore they work for him. My problem is that I can’t help them grow and develop or even manage them effectively if I have to ask them what they’re doing and why. The work they do requires stability and consistency – it’s hard to spot trends or make decent analyses without consistent data generated by consistent methods. And on a personal level I feel disrespected and mistrusted: am I some kind of obstacle? is there some question of my ability to deliver the desired results?

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A Bit of a Break

I’m taking a couple of days off, making myself a nice 4-day weekend. My normal practice with these things is to just kind of lounge around the house, napping and reading and whatever. Or I travel.

This time I’m doing neither. There’s no budget for travel right now, and I feel like I can do better with my long weekend than just vegging out. So I’m resolving to do something fun each day, preferably something I haven’t done before or in a long time. This morning I had breakfast at a place I’ve been meaning to try for a while. Later this weekend I’m going to try Thai food, and perhaps Cuban food, and I’m going to find some fun stuff to do outside the house.

The soul needs fuel as much of the body. And a healthy soul burns joy. I need to keep my soul well-fed.

Learning to Love Dandelions

This is a story I learned in therapy a couple of weeks back. It’s a lesson I struggle to learn.

There was a man who loved his lawn. He wanted to make it the greenest, lushest lawn in town. He spent hours planting and watering and weeding it, and it was gorgeous – all his neighbors complimented him on it. But one day he found a few dandelions had sprung up. He pulled them up without a second thought.

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