The path of least resistance
Running from what’s easy and seeking a challenge has been a bad habit of mine. Have you ever decided to take the difficult route because you felt as though you were too smart, too talented, too whatever to do what’s easy? If so, you’re not alone. I’m right there with you.
- “If it’s not challenging you it won’t change you.”
- “If it’s easy, it won’t be worth it.”
- “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
These quotes are commonly used as motivation, unless you’re me. I am very literal, so I take words seriously. I mean, yes I can comprehend a joke. I make a lot of them myself. Sarcasm is my spoken word. But for whatever reason, common catch phrases have always been a sore spot.
I analyze the statements literally and breakdown how they possibly apply strategically. The three quotes above have roamed my mind since middle school. Ultimately, they’ve cost me a lot in educational and occupational lanes.
Journey with me down the easy path
“If it isn’t challenging you it won’t change you” seems great to hear when you are trudging along attempting to overcome hardship. However, in my mind I don’t take this as positive. My mind immediately assumes that this means I will always live in constant “challenge” mode, and nothing in life will be easy or comfortable.
Psychology has always just made sense to me. Breaking down emotions and understanding behavior has never struck me as difficult. So freshman year, as I was aceing all the psychology courses and failing the history and science ones, I swore to myself I would absolutely never ever be a psychologist.
Learning the hard way
I have been chasing careers that allowed me to measure my success with challenges, using the level of difficulty as the measuring stick of my inner value. All because in my mind I was making A’s with minimal effort and able to adequately apply the information on the spot in my everyday life.
Based on my experience I am convinced that psychology is one of those degrees that should require a plan of action before you are able to declare it as your major. It was easy for me to get by without paying attention to readings or classroom projects and everyone was majoring in psychology as the easy route while they focused on pre-med and pre-law things. This all seemed like confirmation that I’m doing something that’s too easy since everybody else is doing it. As the saying goes “if it’s easy, it won’t be worth it” and even better “if it’s easy everyone can do it.” And in fact, everyone was doing it so I was clearly on the wrong path… right? Wrong.
Warning, a bit of bragging will appear ahead. Proceed with caution! I can read a situation in seconds and break down the truth and the complexities. I can grasp onto abnormal social constructs and dilute it down for my own comprehension in minutes, then I am able to share and teach soon after. In all my classes I was seen as the smart one, because I am the smart one.
But “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” So I searched for new rooms by any means necessary and often failed to feel as if there were smarter people in them. This isn’t to say that no one ever taught me anything. I learn every day. But that’s the beauty of my brilliance. I take on challenges to learn new things, which means I am always growing my knowledge.. So how could I not be the smartest person in the room if learning is a hobby? Yet I exited the room of psychology since I seemed to be a top contender in both knowledge and application.
The golden nuggets!
So what now? What have I learned and what can you take away from my journey? I’ll be honest, it has really put a hurting on my confidence when I look back and see how successful I could be right now in the career I mesh so well with. If only I followed the path that was easy for me. But I didn’t feel my worth or see my value all because I was stuck comparing myself to quotes and measuring myself through conquered challenges. So I leave you with these three tips:
- Your value is not found in the amount of work you are able to produce. Being productive does help us to feel better. However, producing work does not equate to your value or significance.
- Your mind is the treasure, cash out wisely. Where the mind goes the actions follow. To guide your path properly you must diligently work to keep your mind clear, focused, and joyous.
- Learning is a constant, never ending process. Always look for the lesson, and be sure to take notes. Life is a comprehensive exam, no past trial is off limits for retesting.
- Sharing is caring. You may just help someone avoid making the same mistake or learning the hard way. Spreading knowledge from past experiences is a challenge to be mastered.