Missing bits. 3.

The flipside of the past two blogs is that sometimes it really pays to surround yourself with people who know and understand your struggles. It isn’t just the fact that they are easier to talk to or can commiserate adequately; there can be very practical advantages.

Some people might have started where you started, and be ahead of you in some ways. You might have both started at A, and now you’re at B and they’re at C. That means not only that they can model for you more functional ways of dealing with issues, but that they actually know the shortest way to get from B to C. They might know the potential pitfalls and some handy shortcuts. They may also be able to present information in a way you can readily process, because of your shared background. Particularly if you’re still working out the extent of the issues you need to work at, talking to someone who’s walked that path ahead of you can be incredibly helpful.

Sometimes having to consciously pick up new programming to solve recurring issues can make us better at running it than those people who just picked it up by osmosis growing up. Although it can feel a bit clonky or artificial at the start, and although we may never feel wholly comfortable with it, we may actually understand it better. We are like non-native speakers who consciously know and use the rules of grammar, whereas native speakers, although more fluent, may just subconsciously repeat what they have learnt in the past. So if you need to ask about the specific ‘rules’ of how something works, you might get a better answer from someone who has also had to consciously learn it.

None of this will do you any good if you’re not prepared to admit that other people may be better equipped for a functional, healthy life than you currently are. If you’re insisting on protecting yourself against any admission of your fallibility, that is likely to consume most of your energy and prevent you making any progress. How can you progress if you’re already as perfect as you could possibly be?

This will also not help if you are in any way jealous or resentful of those who are ‘ahead’ of you. If you see people’s superior achievements or skills as some kind of personal affront, not only you won’t be able to learn from them very effectively, but you’re also likely to be a total chore to be around. Sorry.

Overall, I think what me and my people are doing is miximising the good side of this situation – or at least I hope that’s what we’re doing. I am happy to rely upon the fact that all of us are incredibly invested in getting better, doing better, making things better for all those around us.

Most of all, I know that none of us is invested in “marinating in resolvable dysfunction” (stolen from Mary Kogut, with many thanks). And that’s probably the crucial element.


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