People ought to do what they are good at. It changes who you are. To do as your occupation something you are good at fills you with confidence, brightens your days, strengthens your will. To do as your occupation something you are not good at is disappointing in and of itself, but then as you continue to do something you are not good at, you pile up failure after failure on a daily basis, and your confidence is eroded, your self worth is destroyed and your outlook is infected with negativity.
You see how that works? It isn’t just the failure of the moment that sucks joy out of life; it’s the absence of confidence that sucks the life out of you day after day after day. And here’s the kicker: either way, it’s a spiral staircase. Going up or going down, you never plateau.
Let me explain in detail. Let’s say you are a good marketing consultant. You devise and implement kick ass strategies which increase sales for your clients. You get to watch the numbers go up, and this strokes your ego. Your clients buy you all-expenses paid trips to Las Vegas, which make you feel even better. They give you great gifts – a motorcycle, a 50 in plasma screen, a $1,000 gift certificate for Amazon.These thing confirm your self worth. So do you plateau there on Cloud Nine? No! You are feeling great, energized, so you are able to tackle bigger, better things. And your sense of self worth translates into a better work out at the gym, and the better work out at the gym makes you look better in the mirror, and as you tackle bigger and better things the rewards get bigger and better and you pull that much out in front of the pack. Now you’re being quoted in USA Today and New York Times. This is even great affirmation of your self worth.
And a hundred little things add to build up your confidence every day – better restaurants, massages, thousand dollar suits, a nicer car, a bigger home, a younger wife. All these things enable you to climb even higher and reach even more noteworthy affirmations of your expertise! It’s an upward spiral.
Now contrast that with the downward spiral you experience when you do something you are not good at. Let’s say that you are a cook. A really, really bad cook. You make food that most people don’t really enjoy, so you have to price it cheaply in order to sell it. Every time you glace at the menu and see the prices, your sense of self worth takes a punch in the gut. You read cooking books; you watch cooking shows on TV; you spend sleepless nights attempting to perfect your chicken cordon bleu, but even your dog prefers dry dog food. Simply stated, you don’t have a flair for cooking; your taste buds know what delicious is, but your mind cannot figure out how to replicate that in the kitchen.You incur debt after debt. Really nice people come into your restaurant and you really think that they could be friends and awesome lifelong customers, but then you cook something and those people – nice people that they are – try but fail to hide their disappointment in you. But you have so much debt you can’t even be the gracious proprietor and tell them it’s on the house. As you collect their hard earned, ill-spent money, your are literally nauseated by the thought of yourself. You disgust yourself and quite literally make yourself sick.
In your deep depression, you don’t exercise and you grew fat. You lack the energy to keep up with good hygiene. You watch TV, becoming stupider by the day. A man tries to rob you, and whereas you would have kicked the snot out of him in the past, now you are so lonely you have to beg the mugger to spend the evening with you. You hand over your car keys as a bribe.
So do you plateau here? No. The debt piles up. You stop answering the phone. You lose your credit cards. Your children’s disappointment in you grows from disgust to blatant hatred. Your friends aren’t your friends anymore because you borrowed money and can’t replay it. You keep piling up debt, broken friendships and negativity until you lose absolutely everything.
When you finally declare bankruptcy, you realize that your financial worth – $0 – is now actually higher than your self worth, which is negative a couple million points.
Now I said in the beginning that it changes who you are. I mean that first-person sense of who you are, not society’s take on you. That changes. And that’s the unexpected thing. That’s the dangerous thing. Because lack of confidence and lack of self worth can paralyze you. You are helpless because you believe you are a loser. Which is true, you are a loser. At cooking. So do something else. Do something you are awesome at. And when you first do it awesomely, at the end of the day you can look back on the awesomeness you performed and suck in a deep breath, narrow your eyes, lower your voice and say, “Shit, I’m da boss. I rock. Fuck cooking.” And then feel that long lost feeling of testosterone flowing through your veins. That’s your self worth coming out of hiding.