On.. being more than mediocre

I had recently posted a status on FB on a similiar topic a few days ago which incidentally is close to my answer for today’s topic, Day 03: Something with which you struggle. My post was as below.


Friends and family protested (bless them!) but, contrary to what some of them thought, I was actually completely serious and definitely not on a ‘fishing’ trip on this. I really think that one of the problems about me – is that, although I can do a variety of tasks and am capable of various skills – my score on each of those tasks and skills are probably at best 3.5 out of 5. Basically one of the things that I am struggling with about myself is that I am talentless don’t have a skill that I am 5/5 about.

Take for instance, the one skill I can do, and I love doing which is singing. No matter how many performances I make, I am very much grounded to the fact that I am an average singer at best (being the best singer in college doesn’t count, cause it was a small subset of the population!). Or the next competency I have and like: talking. Although my mother has told me this is my best skill, I disagree because (a) I can’t talk well in public; (b) i am too shy to ask questions in a large hall/seminar (or i worry that my question is an idiotic one); (c) my close family members say I have an annoying side in communicating especially when I ask too many questions; (d) I’m nowhere near the 10/5 score of talking legends such as, say, Oprah. So it’s not a 5/5; it’s maybe a 3.5 out of 5.

Next up: writing. Take a look at my writing in this blog – is it anywhere close to the famous bloggers? Er, no. I also lack the patience that a writer is required to have (I once wrote a short love novel which I started off well but rushed off to the end. Needless to say it remains not in public). I can write ok, and I have good English, I’ll give you that – but being a writer, a columnist or a journalist – remains just a pipe dream.

What about career skills? I am an educated engineer (but helplessly can’t even answer simple science questions – as DH has discovered – such as, how does a car engine work. I’ll end up googling it or visiting howstuffworks.com). I’m a trained chartered financial analyst with 9 years’ experience in finance (but keep having to google back for simple finance concepts which I’ve forgotten, such as equity/enterprise value or pre/post money valuation). I have decent Excel modelling skills (but have made numerous mistakes before, because I’m not detailed-oriented enough), presentation skills (nothing mind-blowing), and good report-writing skills (although I refuse to be doing this into my 40s or 50s). So that’s that.

What else? Cooking – 3/5 (recently improved from 1.5 since moving to Melbourne). Leadership skills – I once led a team of 10 analysts for nearly 2 years and, although I got validation from my team members, I never felt particularly appreciated by the top management (thus explaining why I left). Communication skills – refer to my negative side in ‘talking’ which can alienate some people who are close to me; although admittedly most other people will say I am largely good in this area. Well again maybe a 3.5 out of 5. Drawing/artistic/designing skills – at most 2.8 out of 5. I am interested in interior design and photography, but they both have aspects which I am not keen about (say, fabric design and camera technology respectively).

I would love, LOVE to be proven wrong and discover something that I am very. Very. Good. At. And that, my friends, is something I’ve been struggling with till now.

7 replies »

  1. Hehehehe… funny how we almost, always, see ourselves as mediocre in all the things we do! But i do need to agree with you, i find myself with average abilities as well!

    Talk -yes, I can talk/present/lecture but nowhere near the fluency of Oprah or any good talk show host.
    Write -alahai, takat blogging fun stuffs tu boleh lah. Give me a serious topic, haih, I’ll do more googling than writing!
    Sing -er, I can’t pitch very high so my score is waaay lesser than you in this department!
    Cook -only confident enough for family members and that’s only 5 people at most.
    Draw/artistic skills -nada!!
    Career skills -I’m just so grateful (and thankful) that I got through with my doctorate. But even with that, I’m still the same lazy bone who struggles to explain complex models and do need the internet for fast references!

    Guess that’s what makes us bff, huh?

  2. Yep, definitely! Although i think you score higher than me: talking – i can imagine you are more confident in public, obviously by virtue of being a lecturer; writing – you have a wittier sarcastic humour; sing – are u kidding? your voice is wayyyy better than me!; cook – ditto; artistic – ok maybe i higher – but only coz i have more interest; career skills – you’re a great teacher!!

  3. My goodness, Niza… this is what I keep thinking about myself as well… for quite some time now… I’ve always thought to myself – how wonderful it would be if I had one skill that I was really good at – one skill that I was totally passionate about …. one skill that was me.

    I also feel like a Jack of all trades, master of none at times… but this year – I’ve decided… I don’t have to be a master… just need to make use of whatever skills I have… to whatever extent I can. The important thing is – to make sure I use whatever skill I have – even if it’s a 1.5 or 4.5 – and leave time and destiny to decide whether or not I am meant to reach a 5/5 at any of them.

    Nice blog, Niza… mind if I link to you on my blogroll?


    • Of course not! Go ahead Dinesh.. I’ll link you as well. This blog thing’s great for old and new friends alike to share ideas and well, just to let off steam sometimes.

      Yup i agree with making the most out of what we all have. You’ve got a good point – that we don’t have to a master; that it’s okay to be just what we are. I forget that sometimes. And like your wife said – be grateful.

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