Competent or Not

Why is it that some people who are extremely able think they are never good enough and some people who are only so-so think they are great?

It’s frustrating to encounter someone with all kinds of talent, ability, and intelligence, and find that they are absolutely not confident in any of it. People who could step up to the plate who, for whatever reason, are afraid. Fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear of being seen and known? WHAT IS IT???????????

And, because these people who could lead, who SHOULD lead, do not, the people who are willing to be OK — just good enough — who don’t really care about being the best, are very quick to let you know that they will be up front right away thank you very much. I can only squirm and think — well, nevermind what I think, you wouldn’t like it. These people do not question themselves, they don’t probe, they don’t want any depth, they don’t even know that they don’t know. They are often slightly better than lousy but it never enters their minds that they are, so they put themselve out in whatever place they may find themselves and, (this is what makes me crazy), the world says, “Welcome! You are OK with us. We think you are what we need!”

One of the “spiritual gifts” that is supposed to come with wisdom is discrimination. The discrimination to know what is good and what is not, what is right and what is not, what is real and what is only a facade. Of course, our society is built largely upon what is cheap and available, what “sells” and what is “hot” — not what is lasting, of substance, has some real value, and is a reflection of something that is truly illuminating about the human condition. (I can only imagine what our world would be like if everyone cared about such things).

If you are someone who thinks you are flawed, ask another person in your field who is an expert. If that person is respected by others and she tells you that you are GREAT, please believe her. Then, go out and do whatever you can to bring your own voice, vision and gifts into the world. Do not shrink from challenging yourself in this way, go towards it with courage. Only you can make a difference in the special way that is yours alone.

If you are someone who is ready to be visible, a leader, an up-front figure, find out from another person in your field who is an expert whether or not you are leader material. If that person tells you that you have work to do, that you are not yet really ready, that you must work on yourself for a little more time, LISTEN to her and take their advice. Do not inflict yourself upon the world just because you think you should. PLEASE.

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2 thoughts on “Competent or Not”

  1. Hmm, it’s not uncommon for talented and skilled people to suffer from extreme shyness when it comes to stepping forward into the light. It’s one of those funny human contradictions. I’m fine singing for a crowd, but public speaking is a challenge. It takes lots of thought and practice. The other side of this seems to be people who are extroverts but really don’t have any goods to deliver. Now that’s really upsetting!

  2. I think that many people who are very talented at any artistic pursuit such as singing are naturally sensitive, observant people. We are raised in a society which warns people against being or appearing arrogant, yet which displays it at every corner. Sensitive, observant people are often too frightened of appearing arrogant and being disliked — or of not performing perfectly, and again, being disliked, which they are often quite sensitive to.

    People who aren’t as sensitive and afraid of being/seeming arrogant are often not such good singers, owing to their increased susceptibility to self-serving biases. I suspect that self-serving biases can detract from singing on many fronts. Perhaps this can explain some of why we can see mediocre singers more than amazing singers.

    That said, I think having the “aww shucks” attitude of someone like Kelly Clarkson would be more healthy. She realizes her singing prowess without being arrogant about it — exactly what we would prefer from these amazing artists you probably see every day.

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