things I’m ok with being just ok at

I want to pursue my most important goals with single-minded vigor. In some areas of my life, I truly believe I could move mountains with enough time and effort. In other areas, not so much. There are plenty of things that I find worthwhile to do, but not worthwhile enough to perfect – things I’ll therefore always just be ok at.

I find that hard to accept. With practice, I’d like to be better about moving on when it’s clear that my attention would be more productive elsewhere.

I’m ok with being just ok at:

  • speaking Mandarin Chinese
  • cooking, and baking
  • cleaning
  • dancing
  • telling jokes and stories at parties
  • making small talk
  • being punctual to things without strict start times
  • being fashionable
  • appearing cool to peers on social media
  • sports
  • games of any kind, digital or not
  • investing
  • sitting in an office
  • public speaking
  • buying useful consumer products
  • making friends
  • keeping close to family
  • keeping up with popular culture
  • making music, making art
  • keeping up with every day errands, chores, appointments
  • avoiding junk food and sugar
  • throwing get-togethers
  • buying property
  • picking gifts for people
  • beautifying myself
  • memorizing details about people, or about work

It’s interesting to realize that I love doing most of these things. I simply do not need to be perfect about them. As long as I do them at all, I want to feel happy and satisfied.

There are in fact many things that I’m ok with being bad at; in fact, I rejoice in sucking at them. Some skills are better left uncultivated.

  • deceiving people for your gain and their loss
  • inflicting vengeance
  • convincing yourself you’re blameless for hurting others
  • pretending to like people you dislike
  • evoking an ugly kind of jealousy in others
  • wielding power over the defenseless
  • cruelty
  • embellishing your accomplishments
  • spreading mean gossip

If becoming better at something gives you concrete rewards but takes away from your sense of integrity, it can’t possibly be worth it.

Here are the things I actually do care about being really, really good at.

  • treating other people well
  • creating and maintaining close relationships with people I care about
  • using my talents for the betterment of society
  • keeping myself accountable according to my values
  • apologizing
  • eating well
  • regularly exercising
  • coding
  • solving engineering problems
  • solving organizational problems
  • identifying problems in the world that are important to me
  • living with courage, but without recklessness
  • making drastic life changes to better fit my vision of the future
  • letting go of things that don’t make me happy
  • being with myself
  • staying focused on what matters to me
  • forgiving myself for being imperfect and human
  • communicating my ideas and opinions
  • convincing people that what I think matters does matter
  • making lasting positive impact
  • finding and cultivating community
  • finding a way to talk about what I want to talk about every day, all the time
  • making a home for myself
  • making a home for a family
  • raising kids that are better people than me
  • being open to change when a better world demands it
  • going where the world needs me
  • knowing when to stop
  • giving up when it’s not worth it
  • leaving no regrets behind me