I, Generalist

As I am looking around to how successful business are run, or even the people who post blogs and critiques on Youtube, to me one thing stands out above all else as it is the one thing I am missing in my life. Drive. The dedicated ambition, the blind desire that makes a spirited hobby they were enthusiastically and energetically spending at least 20 hours a day on and aim that outwards. What fun is it to hide in your basement with your train-set if you can put it online and tell people about it, or as The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper has put it ‘Having Fun with Flags’.  Yes it’s showing off to feed your own ego, but who cares. Some people even made a living doing this, but one thing remains, you need passion to succeed.

I find that most recently, and to be totally honest with regular intervals in my life, I am lacking this. My mind is all over the place, constant switching between any cool thing I see, which means that I never get really good at anything. Writing, drawing, photoshop, film editing, singing, unscripted theater play (also known as Live RolePlay), improvisational theater, music, photography, puppeteering, movies… and I came up with this list by just looking round this single room. Bu what I lack is obsession, that one thing someone is completely focused on.

I, as this is called, am a generalist. I am decent in a lot of things. But to succeed in this life you need to be a specialist, obsessed with only one thing, to make it your world and know everything about it. Yes, all the things I love are in the field of art, of creating something. It is specialists that people respect, as they know what to expect, a certain field of interest, and furthermore expect them to deliver it on time at their own convenience. When I was young, people told me I had to pick something and specialize, but I just didn’t know. Quite honestly the pressure to pick was so bad that I actually spent more time fighting back the people who were pushing me than I had time to really pick. And this resulted in me not feeling supported, alone.

All my life I have this feeling that I was on the losing side of a battle and often it sinks me into deep depressions. I feel I will never reach those stars I so long for, as every time I touch one I feel a brief moment of bliss, after which I fall down again, unable to hold on. I have no willpower to stay the course, to make the distance, and for that I am seen as lazy, and I recently found I also see myself as that.

Well maybe I am lazy in a way. What I long for is a compliment, but when I get one I regard it with suspicion as I am not used to them. In my life people paying me compliments usually wanted something from me, which often was a something I was unwilling to give. The things I do give, and give lovingly and with great pleasure, are also accepted with distrust.

This is one of my major hang-ups in my life. I really have no idea how to change this. It might be part of the reason I am so cynical at times, so lack-less to keep keeping on. But then again, my brother was a specialist, and I recently found out he was a damn good one at that, and he dropped dead of a brain hemorrhage in the first days of this year. As a result I have been racking my brain to find what that means, but I can’t make any sense of it. Here is someone who was a great success in his field and he drops dead while someone like me, a ‘lazy’ generalist, is still alive and kicking. Is it then possibly true that stress kills? Has his candle just burned too brightly? Or is since the 1960’s this world just built for the specialists, and some of those with design flaws just fall by the wayside? And why do those who win and stay alive to sell their product to the masses have such dead eyes?

And where do I fit in in all of this? What is a generalist doing in a specialist world? And if this really is a battle, with the specialists winning over the generalists, but in doing so keel over from sheer exhaustion, aren’t the ones the only winners the one who choose not to fight? But if so, then why do I keep feeling like a loser?

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