We All Have Different Skills and Gifts
Isn’t is so interesting how we all have different things that we find pleasurable and those that we find intolerable? For me, I love writing and sharing my thoughts and the thoughts of the authors who work with me to the world and I hate manual labor! Now, some people would call me just plain lazy, but that’s too simplistic a judgment.
We all have things we are good at and things we are not so good at. Some of those choices are not our own, since our early childhood experiences and educational choices will have lots to do with what we think we like or dislike.
If our parents hated something, chances are we will feel the same way. If our parents didn’t get involved much in our early schooling and didn’t have a positive outlook on academics, chances are neither will we. If we chose to hang around with the party crowd in high school, we might give partying a priority over intellectual pursuits. Think about all the myriad of influences you have had in your life – parents, the media, advertising, TV, radio, school, relatives, and many many more – and you will have a difficult time sorting out what are your true beliefs and preferences and what are those ideas of others that you have adopted without even realizing it.
What this means is that for good or ill, there are some things you are good at and other things you are not-so-good at. Our brains are flexible and nimble enough to learn anything, but after decades of conditioning, you just may not want to change. As long as you realize that you could if you wanted to, then I think it is fine to have preferences. But you need to think it through and make sure that your resistance to doing something new is really a personal preference and not just a resistance you were saddled with by a parent or other early-influencer in your life.
Here’s an example. I have a great auto mechanic and last week I brought my car to Tony to replace the power steering pump, which was leaking badly. I had been filling up the reservoir for months with power steering fluid and finally I had the 500 bucks it would take to fix it (Uggh!).
What Tony does is to me, miraculous. He and his crew can take apart something as complex and mysterious as a car engine and understand exactly how it works and how to fix it. It boggles my mind! But look at the paradoxes in this thinking. I spent 24 years in school, have a Ph.D., and worked for 20 years for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on interplanetary space missions! I worked for Microsoft Research for 6 years, giving 2,700 hour-long discussions about future technology trends and operating high tech devices in their home and office of the future to over 50,000 executives and world leaders. I write books for people and have written nearly 500 articles that can be found all over the Web.
Yet a car engine totally baffles me! I can tell you how to get a spacecraft to Jupiter, but I have no clue how my car gets me to the grocery store!
Now am I stupid and is Tony smarter? Is Tony stupid because he didn’t spend 2 decades in school and I am somehow better? No way!
When I picked up my car the next day, Tony said how tired he was. He still had a smile on his face, as he always does, and I said I couldn’t imagine doing what he does. I told him I was tired, too, having spent the last six hours at my desk, writing. He said, ”Oh, that sounds terrible!”
See what I mean? To me, what Tony does sounds awful and to him, what I do sounds horrible!
It has NOTHING to do with smart or not smart.
With a different early life journey, our roles might have been completely reversed. What if my Dad had been around all the time and he was totally into cars? I probably would have hung out with him and learned to love them and fix them. What if I had been more social in high school and not so focused on academics as my only outlet? What if Tony’s parents had emphasized academics in his life and he never got into cars? He might have been the one working on space missions and I would be on my back, covered in grease – and loving it!
Are we really that different from the homeless person sleeping on the street or have our life experiences defined us?
These ideas come up a lot when I talk to prospective clients. People from all walks of life call me and tell me of their desire to write a book. They come from all kinds of backgrounds and usually there is an underlying frustration that they haven’t been able to accomplish their dream. I have gotten calls from homeless people and billionaires alike and everyone in-between. Since I do this for a living and have to have real money up front, not everyone can afford to work with me. But I try to make it clear to them that their search for help is NOT evidence that something is wrong with them because they “can’t write.”
If your life journey has not afforded you the opportunity to write hundreds of articles and focus on turning your thoughts into words, why would you expect that you should be great at writing? It is not a failing on your part. You don’t try to fix your own car if you don’t know how, do you? Why would you think that you should be able to write a book if you haven’t collected life experiences that would give you the skills to do so?
We each have our talents, skills, and gifts and surrounding ourselves with people of varying abilities can create a rich experience. I am in awe of the great guy I hire every few months to help clean up my yard. I even have a guy who comes to my yard every two weeks and collects the doggie droppings! I have some physical issues going on right now that make scrambling up the incline in our back yard rather painful and I am grateful for his service!
I say a little prayer of thanks to the construction workers out in the rain working to repair the city’s aging infrastructure. And I thank my supermarket checker who, for 8 hours straight, is loading groceries into bags so we can do other things.
Hiring me to work with you is not evidence of any lack in you, but rather an appreciation of the different skills and gifts and opportunities we all have. You have the great ideas and life story and I have the ability to sort out all the events and skillfully create a journey that allows anyone to read about what you think or what you have done in a way that can enrich their lives.
Enjoy and cherish who you are and what you do and know, and let others with their skills and gifts complement your life. But know that you could change what you do anytime you want. My varied skill set comes from having had to re-invent myself a dozen time over the course of my life. Know that if you wanted to, you totally have the skills and the power to leave what you are doing and learn something new and become someone who does something totally different from what you have done.
I believe in you!
Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.
Seattle, WA | email@example.com
CELL: (206) 755-9272