Don’t Waste Your Time. Do Your Thing.

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Self-Care Tip #101 – Don’t waste your time if you don’t have to on things you aren’t good at.

Ben is almost 16 years old.  His parents are happy because he’s not as depressed, more interactive and more interested in connecting with others.  They came with him to see me.  Ben gets easily overwhelmed trying to tell me about himself and his parents often interject to help him out.

Ben’s parents are parents to admire.  Patient and clear-sighted regarding values and presence.  I’ve caught my breath more than once in the company of their comfortable regard and affection for their disabled children.  (Ben’s sister also suffers from mental retardation.)

During clinic, Ben struggled to tell me he was bothered and stressed by the school staff pressing him to learn things he didn’t care about.  He lost his words over the bits about how it related to his self-esteem and looked at him mom.

Mom told me Ben doesn’t care about some of the topics he’s taught and he gets sad and anxious when he thinks about it.  He’s embarrassed by it because he doesn’t finish as quickly as others and misses some of his lunch time.

I’m not a high school educator but I still told Mom and Dad that they can feel more confident advocating for Ben’s interests and needs with his teachers.  Ben will excel more in areas he is interested in.  He will find more pleasure in them.  He will be more empowered emotionally.  He will  be more ready for his adulthood needs.

The pressure many of us grew up with to be good at everything, is bogus.  We shouldn’t.  What we should do, is be good at what we are talented at.  We should be good at what we are interested in.  In fact, be shameless about it.  I spoke about this in the post “Do What You Were Designed to Do,” amongst others if you want to read more.

Ben with his parents looked at me with something of relief.  They had “permission” to do what they wanted.  The rest is mostly a waste of time.

Question:  What has opened you up to doing what you want to do in life?  What has that done for you?  Please tell me your story.

24 thoughts on “Don’t Waste Your Time. Do Your Thing.

  1. I enjoyed and related to this post. Mostly because it expressed some basic themes (not rules) which I have learned to live by, but , have never been taught. Those being — If I don’t want to do something, I most likely won’t do it and understanding what I really want is far more valuable than than acting on perceived wants.

    • Rick! Thank you for reading and commenting. I like that “not rules” comment especially as well as hearing a bit of your story. Everyone can find holes in any rules which I think inherently means to the n’th degree, there are no rules :). Keep on!

  2. It would be great to just have to do what we are good or talented at but sometimes life gets in the way.

    We have relationships, we have bills to pay and eventually others come to rely on us emotionally and financially.

    We all know people in jobs they hate but they carry on out of neccessity. This is a sad state of affairs but one which will carry on whilst we feel a sense of “needing to conform”

    Ultimately it is society that makes us carry on with things we don’t like doing.

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    • Hello ZebraRemovals! Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s a good reply you gave. A natural response and one I’m sure many readers instinctual made although unspoken. Who hasn’t felt the thumb of fate at some or many times in life? I loved the Grapes of Wrath. Thank you for voicing this side of things. I wonder if other readers might be interested in replying as well to what you said? It would be great!!! (Hint!)
      Anyhow, 🙂 choices are certainly privileges. Many ways that I turn your comment, draw agreement from me. I did write a post once “Walk Away From Your Junk” that maybe spoke more clearly (or not :)) about the way choice factors in to the good and bad of our lives. Let me know what you think if you like. I read some of your blog and definitely like your quip and whip! Keep on!

      • I think that the word “want” has to be taken into consideration. Dr. Quijada’s statements could be interpreted in several different ways. Here is how I chose to understand them. “Want” is a matter of semantics and perspective and frequently I am unable to clearly understand what I want. For example, if I have an overwhelming “want” to do drugs and I am positive that drugs are what “want”, I have chosen to interpret the word in a convenient way. If I am able to be honest with myself, I would say that what I really “want” is to fill a void in myself and/or numb my feelings, emotions, and memories. There are two inherent challenges the “honest want” presents… 1) Most drug dealers will have no idea what you are trying to tell them and 2) the requirements for meeting that “honest want” are not fast acting, not pre-packaged, and require on going maintenance and effort. Hence, the convenient and easy solution is to say, “I want drugs”. I have a feeling that the words food, sex, alcohol, gambling, watching nine straight hours of Dancing With the Stars, etc., could all be substituted for the word “drugs”.

        One more example of the word “want” and an explanation of my desire to type such a lengthy response. I am currently a thousand miles away from my family, wearing a suit, listening to a conference call lead by people in Japan that do not speak the same version of English that I understand. None of these are things that I “want” to do, so I am typing here because I “want” to. What I truly “want” is to provide financial security for myself and my family, to receive recognition for my accomplishments, to have more quality time with people I care about. Hence, my job is the tool that I use to achieve those “wants”. If my job took away from my ability to achieve my “honest wants “, I would say, “I don’t ‘want’ to do it” and quit. I think that there are always alternatives to doing a job I truly hate. I get the old “I have a family to support , the economy is so bad, you have no idea what it is like thing”. However, consider that the miserable job is truly expendable and not even “really necessary” when you open your eyes to alternatives such as, move to a state, other than California, where the jobs are more plentiful, buy a tent and some seeds and learn to live of the land, reduce expenses and learn to be happy with less, join the military, peace corps, or a group of missionaries to experience a way of life where money is not the motivating factor. None of the alternatives are easy or even possible, however, once the realization is made that I do have alternatives, I can be honest with myself and admit that I am in a horrible job because I choose not to do the things required to get out of it. At that point, I can look at why I choose to stay in a job that I do not like and work on myself. Sure is easier just to say, “this job sucks”.

        At this point in my life, I believe that most of my “true wants” are fairly hardwired. The methods I use to achieve them are not. In conclusion, I “truly want” to thank all of the veterans who have served our country irregardless or the fact that achieving the things that we all “truly want” comes with great sacrifice.

      • Hello Rick of foreign travels and mystery! So cool to get your comment and what a comment at that! You said more of the story. You made it bigger and broader and caught more of us in to something leading to hope. “I believe that most of my “true wants” are fairly hardwired. The methods I use to achieve them are not.”
        Thank you for visiting us from Japan. What a “trip” you made us indirectly a part of. Your journey! Keep on.

  3. …but, then again, if you have been brought upbeing told to try anything, and you find that lots of things SOUND fun to do and learn, you can often find yourself over your head doing and/or learning “fun” things with no way to get out…except to say “No’, which, for those of us who are prone to get in over our head, seems to be almost impossible, and, therefore, a really good way to become depressed. Balance is the answer. How to create that balance is a lesson at least I need to learn!!

  4. I can also relate to this,

    Nowadays I understand the importance of making time for what I like and what I am fairly good at. No more guilt, the dishes can wait for another few hours 🙂

  5. Wow! I needed this. You have inspired me. I keep waiting for someone to give me permission to paint as I thumb through my Andrew Wyeth books. Why? I’m stuck in this old school conditioning–my teachers yelling at me to put away my crayons … they said I had to earn that time.

    Great! Thanks gal!!!!

    • you made such a big concept so clear and light. thank you for your hopeful comment. Please let us know how it goes for you. It would be awesome to hear the progression of this in your life. Keep on! You are a woman of courage.

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  7. LOVED this post!! i relate to it 100%. Just the other day my university mentor asked me what my cumulative gpa was. shoked at my reply bc in my majors its almost a 4.0 however with the GE classes that i don’t care for it drops drastically. . . to a mid 3. ew. LOL anyways there are some classes that just make me anxious and overwhelmed…no joke! sometimes before these classes i get dizzy, sometimes have panic attacks, etc . the anxiety reminded me of your patient. bc no matter how hard i try in those classes it seems futile. however with another subject, like languages i can easily pick up the pattern, the sounds, the structure. etc& recently i’ve stopped trying to force myself to become someone i’m not. a doctor. a nurse a scientist etc. and im ok with that 🙂 better than ok actually very relieved. now that i look at things there are soo many options. im behind in reading your posts so i cant wait to read the other ones esp the one referred to in the article above. “do what you were designed to do”

    • I’m dieing here! can’t believe this is u! thank u sweet ava for reading and commenting. of course as ever, u r lovely and have a story worth telling, worth hearing. I can’t believe how close u r yet so far. throwing u all sorts of support over the sky waves. feel it? keep on!

  8. Most people seem to just get over wasted time. They prolly don’t even realize how much they waste time once there in there routine. For me it is the worst thing in the world. I’m always trying to find a way to squeeze in an extra hour or two of free time. I wouldn’t feel this way if I could just ” do what I was meant to do ” For me it’s even worse though sometimes even though I still go through it I hate being formal to people even friends and family sometimes just because its the – right thing to do… – I don’t mean im an asshole but when I get a day off I don’t wana come do a favor for 3 hours chat for 2 hours go eat for 1 hour i wana do what I wana do. O and lets not even talk about staying physicaly fit or if you got kids ( i don’t ) man there just isn’t enough time in the day! I wish my days were 32 hours but everyone elses were 24 and I still only need 8 hours of sleep. I know it sounds silly but then I know without a doubt I would be more relaxed in everything I do just because I know I will have a good ammount of time to do WHAT I WANT TO DO!

    • brandon, i can’t believe we got so lucky to have u read and comment w us! what a thinker and funny guy u r. thank u. i hear u about being “stuck” in something u don’t want to do. i didn’t verse this post well in addressing that but what i was trying to get at, is doing what you can where u can. making the choices proactively whenever possible to get friendly w yourself.
      (i have to admit, i got a little jealous when i thought of u getting 32 h and me 24. i’m forever going to struggle w keeping the candy dish fairly distributed. it’s a tiring job.)

  9. O one more thing the reason I said I wish everyone else still felt like 24 hours and I feel like 32 is because if everyone had 32 the world would undoubtedly change to like 20 hour work days and minimum wage would be cut in half if not more so some people would be enjoying there extra life span and time to spend all there money while others would still be slaving away just the same

  10. Sorry I just realized you are a psychiatrist and I have one question.

    Who enjoys the $75,000 sports car more?
    a. 15-16 year old in highschool birthday present
    b. 35-42 year old that has half a head of hair
    left and finaly decided to take a chance 6-8 year payment plan.

    Im 24 im not bald the question isn’t about me also my answer is (a). I know the kid didn’t work hard for it right. Everyone prolly wants to say (b.) especialy if your 40 bald and you had to work hard for what you got. So what is your opinion or anyone eleses reading this.

    • i can’t tell if you’re “sorry” i’m a psychiatrist, or “sorry” u didn’t acknowledge it before…. (smile)

      i choose (a.) too if that’s the temperament of the kid, in the moment, senses high, playful. otherwise, i’d choose (b.) and really for the same reasons. i don’t really worry too much about where the honest-money came from. i get more excited about meeting the interests of the hard-wiring/personality/temperament at any age.

      fun question. maybe another reader will venture in too….?

      keep talking brandon. u r wonderful

  11. Wow…. a blast from the past. What a genius that visitor from Japan has turned out to be. Interestingly, I am 40 (in dog years). I believe that my generation is redefining what a “mid-life crisis” is. We grew up during a point in the economic cycle in which many of us made a lot of money when we were young between the “Tech Bubble” and the “Housing Boom”.

    I probably owned the coolest car I will ever own when I was 23. It seems that many in the “new midlife” crowd have turned to things like tattoos, harley tshirts, blogging, and escaping from the back yard. All of this while cruising around in the loaded mini van and remembering how uncomfortable that cool sports car really was. Of course…. there are those who have passed up the minivan for an SUV… they might be just a bit cooler.

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