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    #247554 - 09/08/20 02:28 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3685
    I wholeheartedly agree that gratitude is extraordinarily important.

    A few more musings from my life experience: one of my siblings has a profound gift in a particular area, even notable in the context of being globally profoundly gifted. Another of my siblings has been hyperfocused on the profession which they currently practice since well before school age. I, on the other hand, always had many interests, with sufficiently diverse gifts that several of them quite reasonably could have been pursued into excellence. As a young adolescent, I found it challenging to find focus, especially when it seemed that most of my chronological peers and my siblings had such a clear idea of their paths. The meanderings through various post-secondary studies, however, allowed me to come to a better understanding of myself and the value of eclectic, curiosity-led learning, for me in particular.

    One of the helpful perspectives that I received from my parents, which was especially helpful during that period, was that there are only so many hours in the day, and so many (unpredictable) years in one's life. These are constraints that we all live with regardless of giftings, and cannot truly defeat (or even stave off, without a very high cost). Which is why it is okay not to "achieve to one's potential" in every field--or even, to some extent, in any field. I was taught to be responsible with my talents, but also to recognize that no one can do everything. There will always (as indigo pointed out so eloquently above) be a road not taken, and that does not have to be a source of deep regret, even if one is occasionally a little wistful. Life, after all, is not a race to the finish; who we are becoming, and those we touch for the better during the journey, are what's important.

    And fwiw, I was a far better technical musician years ago than I am now, but I enjoy generating music for its own sake, with all of my flaws, and derive pleasure from the process of itself, and any small improvements that I make (even if they never bring me back to my past peaks). And I think that my joy in the music adds to the pleasure for my occasional audiences.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #247579 - 09/18/20 07:32 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: aeh]
    pinewood1 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/25/19
    Posts: 40
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    A few more musings from my life experience: one of my siblings has a profound gift in a particular area, even notable in the context of being globally profoundly gifted. Another of my siblings has been hyperfocused on the profession which they currently practice since well before school age. I, on the other hand, always had many interests, with sufficiently diverse gifts that several of them quite reasonably could have been pursued into excellence.


    I'd just like to add that even if you have an extreme gift in one area, it doesn't mean that you have to pursue that thing.

    I don't agree with everything in this article - I'm an anti-capitalist and I think that the idea that there has to be something you'll find amazingly fulfilling that the market will also reward you for is naive. I think it's wrong that the ideas of life's purpose and money are linked the way that they are. (That's just my view; you don't need to agree.) But I think this part is spot on:

    Quote:
    So what if your destiny doesn’t stalk you like a lion? Can you think your way to the answer? That’s what Lori Gottlieb thought. She considered her years as a rising television executive in Hollywood to be a big mistake. She became successful but felt like a fraud. So she quit and gave herself three years to analyze which profession would engage her brain the most. She literally attacked the question. She dug out her diaries from childhood. She took classes in photography and figure drawing. She interviewed others who had left Hollywood. She broke down every job by skill set and laid that over a grid of her innate talents. She filled out every exercise in What Color Is Your Parachute?

    Eventually, she arrived at the following logic: Her big brain loved puzzles. Who solves puzzles? Doctors solve health puzzles. Therefore, become a doctor. She enrolled in premed classes at Pepperdine. Her med-school applications were so persuasive that every school wanted her. And then — can you see where this is headed? — Lori dropped out of Stanford Medical School after only two and a half months. Why? She realized that she didn’t like hanging around sick people all day.

    The point is, being smarter doesn’t make answering The Question easier. Using the brain to solve this problem usually only leads to answers that make the brain happy and jobs that provide what I call “brain candy.” Intense mental stimulation. But it’s just that: candy. A synthetic substitute for other types of gratification that can be ultimately more rewarding and enduring. As the cop in East L.A. said of his years in management at Rockwell, “It was like cheap wood that burns too fast.”

    I struggled with this myself, but not until I had listened to hundreds of others did the pattern make itself shockingly clear. What am I good at? is the wrong starting point. People who attempt to deduce an answer usually end up mistaking intensity for passion. To the heart, they are vastly different. Intensity comes across as a pale busyness, while passion is meaningful and fulfilling. A simple test: Is your choice something that will stimulate you for a year or something that you can be passionate about for 10 years?


    I doubt I'm as smart as AEH's sibling, but I do have a particular gift on top of being globally PG. I majored in that field (and another). A friend at one of the top universities for that field told me that he didn't know anyone else who was as naturally talented in it as me, with one possible exception.

    I didn't go to grad school in that field. I only play around with it these days. I don't regret that at all. It's not my passion. It was "brain candy" for me. It would have burned me out.

    I have multiple passions, and multiple interests that don't reach the level of passions. And that's okay. Some people are just what Barbara Sher calls "scanners" (I highly recommend her book Refuse to Choose) and others call "multipotentialites."

    Your cognitive profile doesn't necessarily determine what you should do.

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    #247582 - 09/19/20 06:53 AM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: pinewood1]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    Originally Posted By: pinewood1
    I'd just like to add that even if you have an extreme gift in one area, it doesn't mean that you have to pursue that thing.
    I think this is great advice. A gift or talent may be a vehicle which gets one to a place where one sees an opportunity and/or makes a connection (internally or with others) that leads to a change in direction.

    Originally Posted By: pinewood1
    I'm an anti-capitalist and I think that the idea that there has to be something you'll find amazingly fulfilling that the market will also reward you for is naive. I think it's wrong that the ideas of life's purpose and money are linked the way that they are. (That's just my view; you don't need to agree.)
    I don't believe this accurately summarizes capitalism, I believe this misrepresents capitalism. It is my understanding that in the capitalist view, based on supply and demand, one earns money by meeting a need of others. In serving others by meeting their needs, one connects with others, creates a place for themselves in society, and thus finds meaning and purpose in having established that they serve others, fulfill a need, therefore are needed, connected, fit into society, belong.

    This is different than being rewarded for something one may find amazingly fulfilling, which is a thought process focused on self, not on supply and demand (aka meeting the needs of others). For example, if one enjoys creating expressive art, one may choose to locate an audience appreciative of their creations and connect with them... or one may choose to pursue their passion as a hobby while also spending time earning a living by creating works which appeal to the mainstream market (or working at a different type of job altogether). The people provide feedback as to how well one is meeting their needs by either purchasing goods (providing monetary income) or not. Under capitalism, one can respond to changes in market conditions (supply and demand) by adapting their price, offerings, location, and/or choosing a different job or career... as opposed to being assigned their employment by the government.

    Finding meaning and purpose through connecting with others, meeting their needs, and creating a place for one's self in society is separate and distinct from one's "life purpose" or calling which may not be income-producing. For example, one may be an expressive artist, an advocate, a volunteer, and/or spend time studying the stars, working on solving a complicated math problem, or inventing an anti-alien spacegun.

    The information at these links may help provide more insight regarding capitalism:
    - https://mises.org/economics-beginners
    - https://mises.org/library/entrepreneurship-brings-meaning-and-purpose-life
    Originally Posted By: Mises: Economics for beginners
    Remember, the purpose of the economy is not simply to work or make money—it is to satisfy our needs and wants as individuals. If no one actually wants or needs an anti-alien weapon, then the money, time, and resources spent on them are wasted, when they could have been used for producing things that people actually want or need.

    The opportunity cost is everything else that could have been done with the time, the resources, and the money that are no longer available.


    Originally Posted By: pinewood1
    Your cognitive profile doesn't necessarily determine what you should do.
    More great advice. We are more than the work we do to support ourselves, to earn a living.
    smile

    raphael, to comment on a few thoughts on your OP:
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    - related: how much should I push if I feel that this is more who I want to be, rather than a guy generally struggling with consistency in his life? [Because this also means - and I already feel it sometimes - getting distanced from old friends, and wanting to meet new and more "motivated" people.]
    I believe in taking opportunities, developing self-discipline to push one's self and see things through. I see persistence and completion as signs of maturity: following through even though one may become tired, experience doubt, etc. People tend to form friendships and alliances when they experience some combination of mutual history of shared experiences, goals, interests, validation and affirmation. Only you know if your desire for new acquaintances has a positive motivation or if it is a lazy shortcut to use people for social climbing.
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    - how can I be confident about who I am and want to become, and get rid of the labels that go with it (e.g. "I am a nerd, no one likes nerds, etc.)?
    Labels will always be there, people put them on others and on themselves to quickly categorize so that thought processes can move along. Consider shrinking the importance and impact of labels, while emphasizing that all people have much in common.
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    - how do I build back confidence after feeling like I failed at university?
    It may have been a failure, or a change in direction. Consider this: What did you learn from it? In answering that question for yourself, you will know if there is more to learn from your choices and/or if you are ready to move ahead and make different choices. Blaming others is not an option.
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    - how do I become more aware of my needs? I tend to feel obliged to finish a job even if it bores me, instead of more actively taking control of my career. E.g. I could have switched from psychology after the bachelor, but felt like: "I started this. Now I have to finish it".
    It sounds as if your needs in this context may be copacetic feelings? To meet that need I would suggest: Acknowledging the constraints of reality and evaluating the trade-offs which exist, weigh each option before you, don't second-guess, then stick with your decision unless/until a change in circumstances occurs which would cause you to weigh your options differently. If your "feelings" change from day to day, remind yourself of your "logic" and that you made the best decision with the information you had available.
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    How do I tell my boss that I need more difficult assignments?
    In a positive manner. For example, emphasize what you have learned, that you are grateful for the opportunity to have done so, and that you believe you are ready to leverage your knowledge base and contribute to solving more difficult assignments.
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    How do I stop being satisfied with doing "the easy things"?
    As with other questions you've posed, the answer may be different for everyone. Some people are risk-averse and may find that doing the easy things in their scheduled obligations (classes, employment, committees, etc) leaves plenty of time and energy for personal pursuits. Other people thrive on risk and challenge, either presented personally or through association with others. People can have both types of opposing feelings, and benefit from finding balance and developing philosophical consistency: authenticity.
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    introspection
    While a bit of self-reflection is good, it is important not to develop a preference for living in your head rather than interacting with the real world and learning to roll with the punches.

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    #247627 - 10/01/20 12:27 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    raphael Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/20
    Posts: 17
    @ Indigo: thanks for this detailed point by point answering and great counsels. Interesting input. A lot of my points sound naive when contrasted to your answers. Continuing to learn a lot here.

    Originally Posted By: Indigo
    While a bit of self-reflection is good, it is important not to develop a preference for living in your head rather than interacting with the real world and learning to roll with the punches.


    That was a major challenge for me. I remember this moment when I was 24 when I understood that, up until then, I had had no true interest in the real or outside world.
    I spent most of my youth wondering how people were so much in touch with reality while the same rules didn't seem to apply to me. Interestingly, a gifted friend of mine told that he has had similar feelings, while I have two other gifted friends that are much more grounded in reality.
    I would be curious to learn more about reasons for these individual differences in "groundedness". My two grounded friends have had childhoods where they had to become independent quite early, so that might have played a role. For myself, I also see this that I disappear into my head when I am too frustrated or disappointed with reality. And it is also somehow an act of defiance/sulking.
    In consequence, I would imagine that when raising gifted children, you would have to do your possible to get them not only intellectual stimulation, but also physical, and sensory: going outside! Participate in holiday camps, maybe get them to take responsibility in helping others, organizing things...
    You basically lose years of your life by staying too much in your head, and day by day I continue and teach myself how to connect with the real world around me.

    [quote=Indigo] It sounds as if your needs in this context may be copacetic feelings? [\quote]

    I am not sure I understand "copacetic feelings" correctly here. Could you quickly explain?


    Edited by raphael (10/01/20 12:27 PM)

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    #247631 - 10/01/20 06:01 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    Yes, unfortunately the real world or outside world can be very cruel to gifted persons, spending much effort "cutting down tall poppies" rather than providing appropriate challenge and intellectual peers. The lack of affirmation and validation can be devastating, for anyone. For gifted children who may tend to be highly perceptive and observant, the onslaught of daily slights and exclusion may subtly or not-so-subtly encourage gradually bowing out from interaction and participation, resulting in the insular experience of living in one's head... unless or until being forced or required to deal with the unpleasant, mundane, and rejection-riddled issues necessary for survival and independence in daily life (such as your friends may have experienced).

    Those on the ASD spectrum (for example, those who are high-functioning and with autism) may be naturally inclined to less interaction.

    While being outside, engaging in physical activity, camps, volunteering, and organizing events, etc may be useful for helping children become grounded, this may be highly individualized and different for everyone. I tend to think this meet-the-world-head-on approach is beneficial... but it may also be overwhelming for some. I do believe that parents tend to know their children best, and of course they are also attuned to their family budget and realize what may be prudent and what may be a reach, a risk, and/or a luxury.

    Although one may feel they have lost years living in their head, the time may also be seen as having been well-spent under the circumstances (for example, writing) and in addition to honing skills, and potentially producing works, the time may have prepared a person to begin interacting more with others on a regular basis... as you appear to be doing.

    << I am not sure I understand "copacetic feelings" correctly here. Could you quickly explain? >> Sure. Glad you asked. smile
    Looking back, you had asked how you might become more aware of your needs... I was thinking in terms of defining what "needs" meant in this context... for example (thinking of Maslow's hierarchy of needs) I was guessing that the needs you are speaking of are at the upper levels of the pyramid: needing/wanting/desiring a feeling that you are meeting your potential... that educational attainment and career are fulfilling... in other words: very satisfactory, copacetic. In decades past, I might have added: cool, groovy, winning. Personally, I think that focusing on the middle levels, the daily interactions, adding value, affirmation, validation to IRL relationships may be more rewarding (or fulfill a need) for many or most people: in other words, the middle level may be the pinnacle or peak, and a job or career may simply serve as a means to that end. I do not say this to invalidate your efforts or thwart your plans, goals, and/or dreams. I am just stating what I have observed over the years.

    Again, everyone is different, and society benefits from having many different kinds of people, motivated to invest their effort in many directions.

    Just my 2 cents.

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    #247636 - 10/02/20 03:52 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: indigo]
    raphael Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/20
    Posts: 17
    [I am stealing your idea of embedding URLs in my text. I think it is pretty "cool, groovy, winning"].

    Originally Posted By: Indigo
    Although one may feel they have lost years living in their head, the time may also be seen as having been well-spent under the circumstances (for example, writing) and in addition to honing skills, and potentially producing works, the time may have prepared a person to begin interacting more with others on a regular basis... as you appear to be doing.


    It may certainly in some cases; and in general, it is probably unhealthy to mourn the lost years too much. [Interestingly, I just stumbled upon this: resilience might be an overlooked, important component of grief.

    From my personal experience, I would also add the potentially beneficial effects of (at first, unwillingly) stepping out of usual paths and therefore gaining more freedom in one's choices and independence in the point of view. The time spent in your head can also be incubation time for interesting ideas, or as Sartre presumably put it in the context of drinking alcohol: "I liked having confused, vaguely questioning ideas that then fell apart."

    On a more serious note though, I would still argue (crumbily):
    However important it is to point out the potential benefits or upsides in one's "lost years", the years might still simply be lost, or at least lived at a decreased quality of life (depending on the case) and that is something that needs to be acknowledged. [I am not saying you didn't]. In the context of other disabilities, efforts have been made to quantify this kind of loss. I've read reports about gifted people ending up stuck at home, being unable to work, barely able to speak, depressed, way into their adult life. And while I have been lucky enough to have the resources - through my education, social background (= middle class), social support, maybe also personality, motivation, grit - to manage myself out of difficult situations, I still feel like I have to be very careful to not lose all structure again.
    Considering that profound giftedness might exist at higher rates than expected under the normal distribution (see slide 4 here ) - I haven't checked other sources concerning this subject - I think that we might have a not overly dramatic, but still sensible issue at hand here.

    I was definitely not able to write or hone skills in the state that I was in, and I had to (and still have to) go through convoluted ways to get stuff done properly.
    But then again, it might also very well be the copacetic feelings speaking here, and me being young and naive, not able to see the more complex intricateness of things, relativizing...

    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Personally, I think that focusing on the middle levels, the daily interactions, adding value, affirmation, validation to IRL relationships may be more rewarding (or fulfill a need); in other words, the middle level may be the pinnacle or peak, and a job or career may simply serve as a means to that end.


    It is a beautiful point you make here. My dad likes to talk about this theory by an Austrian/Jewish philosopher who makes the point that humans find most meaning in relationships. Most certainly interesting work to look into, and even more interesting to put into practice.

    From the other side around, chronic depression might be associated with "interpersonal avoidance patterns".


    Edited by raphael (10/02/20 03:59 PM)

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    #247637 - 10/02/20 05:08 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    LOL, @raphael, I was thinking of adding "resilience" to my last reply... but needed to move on to take care of other things IRL. Now I see you opening your post with thoughts on the topic of resilience (well, almost opening, after adding some cool, groovy, winning html code).
    smile
    Interesting synchronicity.

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    #247639 - 10/02/20 05:39 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    Reading and processing the information at the links you provided, @raphael. I'll add to this post bit by bit.

    VERY INTERESTING that several commonly accepted practices in grief therapy may even be harmful. For me, this underscores that science is never settled. What is accepted/promoted/believed at one point in time, may subsequently not age well, fall into disfavor, when newer research does not support it. I do prefer the theory that people are naturally resilient, as I find it positive and hopeful, providing something to look forward to: a person can shake the dark cloud of having made a poor decision, or of having been subject to something unfortunate. While I'll leave empirical evidence to researchers in this matter, I'll share that it calls to mind this anecdotal evidence: TV interviews I've watched after a large storm passes through: Counter-intuitively, I see people who were bypassed by the storm complaining mightily about having been inconvenienced to evacuate... while victims of the storm who lost their homes and possessions express immense gratitude at being spared their lives and the lives of their loved ones, and look forward to rebuilding. It seems these are indeed the fortunate ones, as they have gotten in touch with their priorities.
    smile

    I read your Sartre, and counter with Kant ("What if everybody did that?").
    crazy

    In reading about the DALY and applying or mis-applying the concept to self and those around me... possibly we are growing younger...? (As we subtract Disability-Adjusted Life Years from our age.)
    wink

    Regarding getting stuff done properly, someone on the forums has shared a great thought to counter perfection: "Done is better than perfect." So when getting stuff done properly, not all things need to be done meticulously. One can set their own standards... this calls to mind a TV program on organization and storage which recognizes people have different styles or preferences: Clutterbugs.
    smile

    In reading of << social support... personality, motivation, grit - to manage myself out of difficult situations... being very careful to not lose all structure again >> the MyPillow guy comes to mind. I read his book, "What Are The Odds." He lived very close to the edge... for quite awhile... it could've gone either way for him... fortunately he learned from his risky decisions and chose a better (though no less difficult) path.
    smile

    In reading the I-Thou theory, certain parts instantly resonate with me, and yet I will raise caution. This idea may be somewhat difficult to convey as everyone has a different knowledge base, so I will quickly lay some groundwork or foundation by sharing two brief observations:
    1- Hallmark movies are rather positive and predictable, depicting an idealized and very safe world where one may routinely think positively about strangers, rightly so, and find that very rewarding.
    2- Criminal Minds is a TV series in which pure evil and deception masquerade as friendly strangers and neighbors just down the street.
    That brief knowledge base imparted, I will share that in my observation and experience, real life is like "Hallmark meets Criminal Minds." Therefore a big part of daily life, and a crucial skill to master, is: establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. Become open and vulnerable gradually. Trust must be earned over time, as a person states what they will do, and then follows through, in a manner which demonstrates that you can consistently count on them to do as they say and say as they do. They walk the talk. To bottom-line this: Rather than accept the I-Thou theory of thinking positively about a stranger, I would suggest being open-minded to future positive thoughts, after observing/evaluating attitudes and behaviors of a stranger, with the idea of determining how much distance would make the most positive relationship: a little or a lot. Then establish boundaries which maintain that amount of distance.
    smile

    From my brief reading of the CBASP and making connections to other information over the years, this is my take-away: As devastating as a lack of validation and affirmation may be, it is orders of magnitude worse if coming from one's own family... who are generally thought to provide a safe landing space, but are failing to so (thereby leaving a kiddo with NO safe landing space, no support). A kid in this position may typically not have the words, logic, gumption, and backing to describe the problem and effect a positive change, as all the power rests with the adults in the family. Being powerless, the kiddo develops a pattern of avoiding addressing issues. As the kiddo matures into adulthood, s/he may still feel powerless as they've not experienced practice in negotiating relationships within the family. Therefore they may not have developed skills related to observing/evaluating others, successfully establishing/maintaining healthy boundaries, negotiating give-and-take compromises in relationships, and determining who has earned their trust. Sounds stressful. But on the bright side, these skills can be learned with practice!
    eek

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    #247666 - 10/09/20 02:55 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    raphael Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/20
    Posts: 17
    Indigo; I enjoyed your response a lot smile
    ... but haven't found the time yet to answer. Too many real-world things to take care of at the moment to give you an appropriate answer. I will edit and update this post hopefully in the next days

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    #247667 - 10/09/20 06:59 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    @raphael - Glad you enjoyed these shared ideas and random food for thought.

    Maybe some other forum members will jump in with a few more perspectives, too...?

    Meanwhile, may your real-world things be positive, and yield good results!

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