So Let it be Written, So Let it be Done!

April 19, 2008

Stop Being a Punk

Filed under: kamakula — kamakula @ 8:15 pm
Tags: , , ,

Something which comes up whenever I’m taking a test or doing homework where I’m unsure of how well I know the material ( in spite of me actually paying attention in class and more or less doing the homework [correctly] ) is the feeling that I CAN’T solve a particular problem because I don’t know how to begin.

What usually happens is that I move on to other problems that I feel I can answer, then come back later and tackle the problematic one a little later. Usually, I attribute my new-found abilities to solve the problem to my mind working on it in the background. Or some aspect of solving another problem gave me a clue that I needed.

While that may be true, I’m starting to realize that in reality, I actually knew what I was doing all along. I was just too afraid to try. Then, after I complete all the easy stuff, I have no choice but to actually begin work on the hard stuff. . . to do otherwise would be to fail the test.

Yet, I’ve found in lower pressure situations (homework assignments or my current take-home final), that the truth is, I actually knew what I was doing. Today, I’m staring at part 2 of problem 1, trying to figure out what to do, telling myself that I apparently don’t know the material as well as I thought. About 30 minutes later, I say to myself, well, I might as well just start on it and figure out the rest later.

As soon as I started writing, i saw the solution. It was right there! All I needed to do was start the problem. I guess it does mean that I don’t understand the material as well as I’d like. In cases when I do, I can just look at a problem and immediately envision how to start and the steps that would lead me to the solution. However, in cases like this, if I just start the problem, that’s almost enough to connect the missing link in my mind.

I’m starting to think I create a lot of anxiety in my life for no reason at all. I’m going to make a conscious effort to just do or start things, rather than waiting until I can see the clear path from start to finish. I will never be able to understand everything well enough that I can play it out from start to finish in my head. However, if I’m confident in my skills, things will likely work out.

It’s funny that I’m this way when it comes to certain things, like writing firmware for embedded systems, or working on robotics projects. . . I guess it’s just that I’ve already learned to trust myself when it comes to those things, mainly because my passion lies in those areas so I never let myself quit or get down just because I felt I didn’t know the immediate solutions. However, in other parts of my life, where I’m not as driven, I’m also not as confident.

Hmm. . . those are interesting observations. Passion/drive = confidence/success (sometimes – well, enough that I’m happy). And I can substitute (sometimes) determination/willpower for passion/drive.

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