Thursday, August 1, 2013

Great Expectations

It's probably pretty obvious by now I expect a lot of myself. I feel like all my life I've been this untapped potential and chronic underachiever - and I'm sick of it. 

I had a frustrating time yesterday as I got one of the marks back for the seminars I took as part of my Honours work. It was bad enough that I was really upset, and it occurred to me that perhaps I should ask for my second mark back so I could get all the upset over with in one day. 

So I asked the mentor for the second mark. It was slightly better, but still far short of what I wanted, nay needed for the overall mark I am seeking from this ridiculous exercise in self discipline and self doubt. I was right to get it all over with, and mourn what I can't fix. I woke up today ready to try again and make the thesis, which is worth 60% of the final mark, as good as it possibly can be. 

Look, they're not bad marks. My supervisor assured me that I'm in the top couple of percent of students with these marks, but still. It feels like a failure.

Expectations can cripple you. If you're a perfectionist and you want the best, sometimes you can paralyse yourself and not even start. The blank page is both frightening and exhilarating, because you know it probably won't be as good as in your head.

The trick is to start, to draft, to cut, and to believe that it can be better than you'd hoped. Over and over and over again. 

I leave you with this video of Dylan Moran talking about one's potential. I worry that he's right, the bastard: