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When you like something but aren't really good at it?

N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
How do you handle those situations. Let's be honest not everybody is great at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses. How do you handle those situations? Do you use brute force to make sure to learn the material even if the return is relatively low? Do you move on realizing this may not be what's best for you or does that reek like a quitters attitude? I know where I fall but I am very interested in the opinions of others on this form. Writing formulas in Excel took me a long time and even with a lot of effort there are others who spend less time and who are better than I. I don't get upset, but there are sometimes where I feel that the effort isn't worth the skill set. What's your thoughts? Again I am not condoning quitting, but how do you decide what's worth the effort and what's not.

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    dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I have no idea what you're talking about. :D
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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    MutataMutata Member Posts: 176
    I think that's a tough one, because on one hand you may have person A) naturally talented at something but not interested and person B) someone who may not have that natural affinity, but really finds the topic fascinating and interesting. I think person A) who doesn't have that same interest and passion wouldn't push as hard into the topic as say person B) who may go home and spend all night reading, practicing and absorbing everything about said topic.

    Person B) might be better off from a sheer effort standpoint

    For me it would more boil down to what I wanted to be doing, what I found mentally stimulating and the personal satisfaction I got out of it. From a career perspective though I do think you have to mix in a little but of realism - the amount of time you have to put into something to be proficient, the financial cost to yourself - and what benefits you would receive in return
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Mutata thanks for following up. I agree with a lot of what you stated. I think there comes a point where you have to throw in the towel and move onto something else. I am talking task level not career or even higher. That is unless you are brilliant like Dave then this topic doesn't apply to you. ;)
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    Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Regarding Excel maybe you should have a look at the MrExcel forum, that's where I look when I need to figure something out in Excel. I like this forum because there are a lot of smart people from different areas of IT and I think I can absorb something from other smarter members and their experiences. Likewise if you hang out with other power Excel users I'd say you would pick up some knowledge from them too.

    I like Cisco but I'm not particularly good at it, therefore my method is a slow learning process while Microsoft & VMware is a faster process for me. I keep chipping away with Cisco material and maybe someday it'll click but maybe I'm only a CCNA on Cisco stuff... time will tell. I think I would keep up that level of knowledge just to have it, even if I don't use it.
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    Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets Member Posts: 1,210
    Great question!

    I was like that with programming. Right now I am quite good at it but when I think of what I had to do to get here, I get dizzy. It took a lot of effort, day in and day out. On the other hand, I have a friend who simply looked at the definition of programming on the internet and became a software developer. It's good that I don't want to be a programmer, because I probably can't get to the level of developing serious software. Since I am in security, I do need certain coding skills. In case there is a need for them to get better, I am a 100% sure they will. But I just don't have it in me. I can probably never get as good as my friend. However, I managed to get better than most people through my power of will. I am like those crazy guys in the movies who never gives up and can't accept failure no matter what :D I knew I was going to get to the level I wanted even if I had to eat every single book that has ever been published.

    That is what I do in situations like this and I always cope with them this way. I don't know if that's the best one but this is how I am. Of course, if I don't need to learn something and the effort is too great, there really is not much point in doing it. This is how I started my job actually. Currently I am in a quite serious security position dealing with national security, the security of institutions like your DoD in the US. I love when people say "What the hell is this kid doing here? He is doing what?" and a few hours later they tell me "Thanks! I am looking forward to working with you".When people see my young age and the fact that this is my first IT job they think I am some sort of genius and that I was simply born a hacker. I found out that I have an aptitude for certain things but the others of the skills I posses to get that job didn't come that easy. I am just really into it and truly love it so I kept getting better and better. Sheer power of will, determination, never giving up combined with love for what I do have always worked for me.
    Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
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    phdillardphdillard Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have this issue with what can loosely be called my music and writing career. I'm not exactly the greatest musician on any instrument nor the best writer, but to date I've released 3 albums and 4 books. The key is to find the instrinsic value in what you are doing. If you are satisfied with your performance from within then what you are doing is worth the effort. However, If you are looking for validation from others while not being particularly skilled at what you are doing, that is a different story altogether and will lead to constant disappointment.
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    traceyketraceyke Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Mutata wrote: »
    I think that's a tough one, because on one hand you may have person A) naturally talented at something but not interested and person B) someone who may not have that natural affinity, but really finds the topic fascinating and interesting. I think person A) who doesn't have that same interest and passion wouldn't push as hard into the topic as say person B) who may go home and spend all night reading, practicing and absorbing everything about said topic.

    Person B) might be better off from a sheer effort standpoint

    For me it would more boil down to what I wanted to be doing, what I found mentally stimulating and the personal satisfaction I got out of it. From a career perspective though I do think you have to mix in a little but of realism - the amount of time you have to put into something to be proficient, the financial cost to yourself - and what benefits you would receive in return


    "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
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    veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Member Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I actually think programming is interesting, but I have difficulty doing anything beyond hacking code and creating basic scripts. Google is my friend and I'm more than willing to learn what I have to. That being said, I'm not going to try to pursue a career in programming :)
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @PH I would consider myself mature enough to realize that validation from others will only lead to disappointment. I don't look for atta boys or good jobs, but I do self evaluate myself and at times feel that pieces of my skill sets are inferior to other pieces. I used the Excel example earlier, I am good at Excel and have received quite a few complements on my dashboards, automation tasking, etc. I used that example because I am "good", but never will be a "natural". My boss for instance is very good at just ripping out formulas in Excel while on a conference call/screen sharing and he has only being using the tool for less than 6 months compared to my 5+ years. No matter how hard I try I will never be that good. However, on the other hand I am amazing at evaluating talent and customer relationships. It comes natural and I don't have to give it much effort. It probably is one of my biggest gifts/strengthens. With Excel though it took countless hours of studying and utilization of the tool itself, whereas the CRM piece and soft skills didn't take much at all. In fact it seems no matter what role I take management wants to leverage my CRM skills. No one ever wants to deem me the Excel guru even though I spend 100's of hours in that particular skillset and that's okay. That's all I meant by the post.
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    phdillardphdillard Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Sounds like you're being hard on yourself...maybe you're one of those people who's idea of not being good at something would be considered excellent by others. One thing I've learned is goal-oriented people have a tendency to hold themselves to higher, sometimes impossible, standards than others do.
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    IsmaeljrpIsmaeljrp Member Posts: 480 ■■■□□□□□□□
    traceyke wrote: »
    "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

    One of my favorite quotes of all time. KDTrey5.
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    yes it does happen a lot. My suggestion: don't look at what others are doing, just focus on your progress. Treat it like a job, and do the best you can during the job, then leave it. Don't be disheartened, and I know it's easier said than done, but you have made progress - it matters. You are better today and you were yesterday, so keep on doing your job. It's a job, and nothing more. You might not need to use Excel later in your career, or you might become an expert in Excel and need to use it later. Whatever it is, you will survive and your job will be done at the end of the day.

    One thing about people to keep in mind: people lie all the time. They might tell you things like "this is the first time I do programming..." and it might be a complete lie. I know this might not be the situation you are in, but people do such things all the time to feel good about themselves (lol).

    Don't over-think it, do the best you can, and focus on the fact that there is a progress.
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Learn GRC! GRC Mastery : https://grcmastery.com 

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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Unix you are a good person. Nice write up!
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    krjaykrjay Member Posts: 290
    Not really tech or cert related but it reminds me of my current struggle with golf. Started last year and I love being out there playing, but I am just terrible. As a result I've dedicated about 4x the amount of time per week this year, going to take lessons soon, getting fitted for new irons next week. I think I become obsessive when I'm bad at something I like. I refuse to be bad at it forever
    2014 Certification Goals: 70-410 [ ] CCNA:S [ ] Linux+ [ ]
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    dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    It doesn't matter if you're not good at something as long as you find joy in doing it. When it's no longer fun, that's when you quit.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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    zxshockaxzzxshockaxz Member Posts: 108
    dave330i wrote: »
    It doesn't matter if you're not good at something as long as you find joy in doing it. When it's no longer fun, that's when you quit.

    This if how I see it. It also kinda goes along with what UnixGuy said.
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    petedudepetedude Member Posts: 1,510
    N2IT wrote: »
    How do you handle those situations. Let's be honest not everybody is great at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses. How do you handle those situations? Do you use brute force to make sure to learn the material even if the return is relatively low? Do you move on realizing this may not be what's best for you or does that reek like a quitters attitude? . . .

    I think it's a worthwhile question, not just in terms of Excel but everything we TEers could deal with. I've done:
    1. Brute force. . . turn over every rock possible until I find the resources to get me through (the WGU coursework in Java was an example!)
    2. Put it on a back burner or pace myself when necessary (Cisco studies)
    3. Run (my MCITP and countless other little tech thingies I thought about doing and didn't follow up on).

    For the record, I don't like #3 and I'm trying harder to avoid it. Sometimes though, quitting or the urge to do so are a sign you might not be cut out for the situation, so at least try to think it over and try to get to the root of the problem before you make a decision to bail.
    Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
    --Will Rogers
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    PristonPriston Member Posts: 999 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I think there are some things that take time to learn and require smaller steps to become good at them. You can't just jump right in and except to be able to know everything.

    Of course your not going to be good at calculus if you don't know algebra.
    A.A.S. in Networking Technologies
    A+, Network+, CCNA
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    aluchenialucheni Member Posts: 18 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Try and imagine how much effort performing xyz duty is going to take in the long run, day to day. If you would work very hard regardless (50+ hrs), it might be worth it to continue. If you want a more relaxed life, it might not be worth it if just keeping up is going to regularly put you over the 40hr mark. These are values that I just made up, so it would really boil down to how much return you personally are getting from your studies.

    Ultimately, as long as you can make a livable wage, I don't think the typical middle-class increments in salary or prestige are worth damaging ones
    sanity. :)
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    How do you handle those situations? Do you use brute force to make sure to learn the material even if the return is relatively low?
    Remember the thread that we discussed a few months ago - the topic of Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers came up. The premise was that success at any endevour could be achieved through practice. The "10,000 hour rule" claims that the key was practice and diligence at a particular skill.

    I continue to believe in the notion that people can be great if they have the drive and passion to put in those hours. The key ingredient is having that motivation.
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Paul do you agree that some people may require only 7,500 hours and other may require 12,500 for a particular skills set.
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yes - absolutely. As I recall from Gladwell's book, the basic theory is that it's about practice. And he proposed that a minimum of 10,000 hours to be great was the bar. Some people might need 12,500 hours, some 15,000 hours. There was an interesting note about Mozart if I recall correctly, Gladwell somewhat dismissed the notion that Mozart was born with innate talent to compose music - with the idea that Mozart started young and much of his early works were mediocre or even done with support from his father.
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    Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,359 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I specifically liked the part in Gladwell's book where he discusses the study of violin students at a famous music academy. The students dedicated roughly the same amount of practice during their younger years, but as they got older, the elite violinists all kept practicing at a breakneck pace, whereas the mediocre violinists tapered their studies off (presumably as they grew up and found other interests). Gladwell noted that in that particular study there were no "natural" talent noted, and the number of hours practicing correlated closely with the ability of the student.

    I am a great example. I feel I am good at what I do, but I'm pretty sure it's taken me longer to get to this point than some other people. A former coworker of mine, for example, was at the same skill level I was, but he was years younger, and had only a couple of years experience in the field. I'm not so sure I believe in natural talent, but I do believe in the natural ability to pick certain things up quicker. So in that case, I don't think he was just born to be an engineer, but he came from a programming background, and picked up networking really fast.
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    dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    Paul do you agree that some people may require only 7,500 hours and other may require 12,500 for a particular skills set.

    I don't think that's accurate. Even if I spent 12,500 hours, I know I can't match someone who only spent 7,500 hours because they have talent for that skill while I don't.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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    instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    Even a tortoise can outrun a lazy hare.

    To decide whether or not the effort is worth it, I calculate if the ROI is worth it, or not. For example, you could go back to school, and keep piling up more degrees and letters after your name, but unless you do some work, you will not get any return on that investment of your time. In this case, the reasonable idea is to do a simple analysis of reward versus investment. I try to do the same for any skills that I'm working on.

    Here's a simple analysis:
    Will augmenting this skill help to gain some reward?
    How much time/money will it require to build this skill to the level required to gain the rewards?
    Is the reward gained worth the time/money required to gain it?

    Remember: unless you're broke and should be working to take care of loved ones, time with them is infinitely more important than money in a bank account.

    Hope this helps.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I tend to think that if you have a true drive to do it, you can become good at just about anything. Now there will always be some natural talent needed, but I tend to think if you are actually interested and giving 110% you can do it. I took Chinese for a term and in the beginning was super interested in it. I was doing flash cards nightly, going to all the lab study hours, and participating in class. The way the course was structured, you had a midterm that didn't count, but let you gauge how you were doing. Lots of hard work and I took the midterm with the hardest proctor there was. Came out and he said B+ to A-! I was floored and then got lazy because ultimately I wasn't as interested as I thought. Final comes and I get a D with the easiest proctor available. Moral of the story? If you want enough you can do anything, but I think people find out that don't want it as bad as they'd like.
    WIP:
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    datgirldatgirl Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    When you like something but aren't really good at it?
    My situation is a bit different, if I don't like something I usually am not that good at it, but if need be I will do my darndest to be proficient at it. Subjects or tasks that I am interested in, I will practice, research, and perform them quite a bit, and I would dare-say, become quite good in the execution of.
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