Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I Suck

Along with complete lack of self-discipline, I found another semi-related flaw to my character that could use some working on: I am a quitter. I've known this before but it strikingly manifested itself tonight while I was longboarding and working on the cross-step. It's a beginner's trick I've been working on for a few nights spread over 3 weeks' time, where sometimes I have success and sometimes I just can't get it at all. Tonight was one of those nights for a while. I couldn't balance right, kept putting pressure in the wrong part of my feet, leaned too far to one side ... etc. After so many attempts that ended in my having to step off the board midway, and ultimately falling to the ground and scraping up my hands, the discouragement level was getting pretty high.

Frowning as I recognized what this meant - I had been completely in love with this newfound sport up until it got slightly hard - I blatantly remarked to Jake, "I'm a quitter. I don't want to do this anymore." And all my self-esteem went down the toilet. I realized how soon I give up on things that I actually enjoy when they start to become challenging and demand more time and effort than I'm used to. I kept trying the trick tonight, basically because I was determined to at least be back in the spot I was at last week where I could do it 50% of the time. I remembered some tips I heard online, and eventually got better. However, this attitude of mine worries me that I won't ever stick with any hobby or passion because I'll hit a road block and end up not caring enough to forge ahead and overcome the obstacle.

On the way home, I recalled many instances in my life where I've quit something because it got hard:
- Piano (loooong time ago. could also have been because I got bored)
- English 2010 two semesters ago. Dropped out halfway through.
- Skiing. Still trying to discern the real cause of why I stopped. It can go on the list though.
- Aspects of dance & tumbling. There were tricks I gave up on because I could never get them, so I just stopped trying.
- Learning how to play the drums. When I actually had to teach myself, it required more effort than I was willing to put in.
- Finishing books. I gradually lose interest, thus making it difficult to persist.
- Video games. Those darn boss levels just pissed me off so much! I never finished any game.
- Various other things.

This is not to be confused with my ever-present problem of not being able to STOP doing things that are bad for me, like eating, not going to class, and spending money on clothes and stuff. That's a whole different topic altogether.

The point is that I have a problem and it needs to be fixed. I don't want to be a quitter. I don't want to get so excited about loving something again, finally, and then losing interest somewhere down the road because it started to get too hard. For some reason it always surprises me when I'm learning something new and for a while I progress at a steady pace, but all of the sudden I almost hit a plateau and everything requires more work. It seems like that's a natural thing when you're developing a new skill, but it's always a foreign idea to me. Maybe it will help by just acknowledging this fact, so I can tell myself that it's normal to slow down with the progression rate and things will just start to take more time.

Or maybe I have a valid point ... ? When something starts to not be fun anymore, because it's too hard and frustrating to deal with, then is it completely wrong to want to stop?

It just took me about 2 seconds to decide the answer is, yes, it's wrong. Motivation and persistence will provide results that will make the activity fun again. What was I thinking? What do YOU guys think? Oh well. Now at least I know what I'll be praying for during the next few weeks. Another plus: next time I fill out a survey or questionnaire asking me what my flaws are, I'll have a ready answer, legitimate and composed. None of that generic "I'm disorganized" crap, or "I don't like my disgusting thighs."


Lyssa Rose said...

I think there's some merit in quitting. If something isn't working for you, why suffer? I quit piano because my teacher made me keep my nails short and I couldn't deal with that. I quit working at Vector because my supervisor was a douche. I quit drinking Dr. Pepper because it makes your vag stink. And I haven't regretted any of these. Embrace quitting shit.

Shannon said...

Haha Malyssa those are good examples of quitting. Well, at least the vector one is. My point was that I often quit things I actually like because they start to get hard and I'm a lazy, unmotivated bum. But thanks for your humorous advice.

Boquavv said...

First of all, quitting is part of finding where you belong and also where to direct your focus and energy.
Secondly, I have quit a lot of things in my time: soccer, track, baseball, rollerblading, skateboarding, skiing, architectural design, AutoCAD, etc. If I had persisted and never quit even though I lost interest and passion for such activities, who knows how miserable I would be. I know how much time I would have wasted. I know how much time I wasted trying to find things I do have passion towards also.
The point is if you are quitting things you love because you have to break through the next level to get better and maintain growth (aka a real reason to continue) you will have to get over the quitting, honestly.
There's no reason to quit if something becomes difficult in order to gain ability. Time put in = results coming out.
The only merit in quitting is if the activity is something you obviously don't love or need.
Oh and eating is not bad for you, are you insane or something?