going to extremes

I have a hard time doing things halfway. That pretty much goes for anything I do. Unless I can do something well and with gusto, I have very little motivation to try it at all. This really isn’t that great of a trait to have. Sure, it works to satisfy that “what’s your biggest weakness?” question that interviewers invariably get around to asking, but it has its downfalls. It goes in hand with perfectionism, which can drive me absolutely crazy. Again, unless I can do it right, efficiently and with style, I’m just not satisfied. I want to excel and do something well more than I actually want to accomplish something. The drive is to be the best, even if it takes me three times longer than the average Joe to get there. See where the problem lies?

It’s all fine for projects that I know will be repetitive. In that case, setting up a best method approach makes a lot of sense. Spend more time more to make your job easier in the future. I’ve received praise and accolades for doing things this way – when it’s worked out well in the end. The issue is with those one-off projects that will never repeat, and never be the same. In that case, an “ends justify the means” approach is much more readily acceptable. Getting things done quickly (while still maintaining accuracy) is the most valued method.

This mentality stretches into my every day life. When I start something new, I approach it with full force. It’s that initial design and discovery phase that I most love. Once I have things up and running, the redundancy is mundane to me. At first gung-ho, then a slow down (or more realistically, a halt) when I lose interest. This applies to food, exercise, recycling, composting, activities, hobbies and anything else you can think of.

So, here I am, bouncing from one side of the pendulum to the other, unwilling or unable to find a satisfying middle ground. It’s frustrating. It would be nice to enjoy the redundancy, but really, once the learning curve is gone, so is the excitement. Or maybe that’s just me? Maybe this just another form of having itchy feet and never feeling satisfied?

I had to complete a Gallup personality assessment several years ago for a job. One of the top traits assigned to me was “Maximizer”, which basically meant I was always searching for ways to make things better, rather than just sticking with status quo. Paired with other personality traits like “Analytical” and “Achiever” and it’s a no brainer that I am seemingly incapable of leaving things alone. Just ask my friends. If we’re close enough, there’s probably at least one part of your house I’ve rearranged at some point. Be it your fridge, your spice rack, your kitchen cabinets or your furniture, in one way or another, I’ve tried to “help”. This is why I say that it’s limited to those I’m close to, because not everyone views this sort of thing kindly. Those who know me well know I don’t do it out of malice or because I find them lacking in some way. Rather, the idea strikes and I know they’re willing to listen and give it a shot. Or, in the case of rearranging my dear friend’s spice rack, I was cooking and had several hours to myself in her home. It wasn’t premeditated, it just happened. Yes, sometimes it feels a bit imposing, but some ideas just won’t get out of my brain until I’ve addressed them.

No specific point to this entry. Just rambling tonight.


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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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