Working hard or hardly working

Have you ever heard of those studies that say you shouldn’t tell your kid that they’re smart, and that you should tell them they’re a hard worker, or else they might end up with a poor work ethic and a twisted view of themselves and their value? Yeah, hi. That’s essentially me. I was a very smart child. I knew I was smart. I didn’t have to work very hard in school because I was smart. I’m not trying to brag about this. If it makes anybody feel any better, it all caught up with me. I didn’t learn how to be a hard worker as a child. I thought my value was in being smart (and that alone).

Eventually I found people smarter than me, and tasks that I couldn’t excel at without hard work. It was a sort of sink or swim moment. I could have just stewed in my misery – I’m good at that sort of thing. Or I could learn to be better. That on its own is hard work.

I say that I’m lazy. I’m not sure if that’s quite true. I always get necessary work done. I’m just reluctant to do things that don’t need doing. I say that I’m a procrastinator. This is true. But I’ve become better about not procrastinating while doing my online program. I have to create my own schedule; I’m the master of my own time, so I have to master my time.

I’m not good at working for prolonged periods of time. I worked all of yesterday and much of this morning. Even just writing this feels like a burden at the moment. I’m burning out. Yet, in the right circumstances, I can endure a lot of hard work for a long time. In helping with my friends’ wedding, I spent a few days working into the wee hours of the morning. Now I’m having to spend long hours getting back on top of my school work. I don’t enjoy it, but I power through the best I can. Maybe at the end of it all, I can call it evidence of being a hard worker.

I try to rearrange my values so that they line up with hard work rather than intelligence. I still notice an underlying current of ‘I’m smart. I’m smart. Please notice I’m smart and think well of me for it.’ in my behaviour. Sometimes other people notice it too. I feel like that probably doesn’t reflect all that well on me. And I don’t want to be that person. I’d like to have some value beyond being clever. I’d rather somebody find value in my achievements than my intelligence. Of all things, changing this pattern of thinking is probably the hardest task for me. Guess it’s a good thing I don’t shy away from hard work.

Please accept this post as my explanation and apology for being absent recently. I’ve been busy. I’m ready for a nice vacation now…if only I had time!

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  1. lifeofmiblog

     /  July 13, 2015

    I can relate to some of this. I was never super smart but smart enough that I didn’t have to learn good habits…that has bitten me all my life. Like you though I am fortunate enough to not be afraid of working hard (much harder than I should need to) to make up.
    Thanks for the post, keep on plugging away!

    • Don’t get me wrong, i was no child genius, but I was really good at ignoring the things I wasn’t good at! lol Maybe this is a more common phenomenon than I think…maybe kids are just not very hard workers!

      • lifeofmiblog

         /  July 13, 2015

        Well I wasn’t, I was too busy trying to work out why I was bothering when I was so stupid that nobody would care…

      • 😦 such a sad thing for a kid to think about. I wonder if a lot of people with chronic depression remember thinking such things when they were young?

      • lifeofmiblog

         /  July 13, 2015

        They are the things you don’t forget! That’s part of the reason for my ‘Life in the swamp’ series, to try to dig up the better memories. It is working too, I have actually pulled out some good times.

      • That seems like a good idea – focusing on the good memories instead of the bad. I should give that a try 🙂

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