Honestly, I am at point where I have given up explaining things to people. The prime reason is, that no one wants to believe you unless your explanation takes them on a huge emotional or logical tour. ‘If it isn’t long, complicated and incomprehensible, it ain’t right’ seems to be the moto these days.
The market is full of easy to fix solutions. Get yourself tested and I will tell you what your strengths and weaknesses are so you don’t have to worry about finding it out yourself. Let’s match your genes so we get the best possible infant you both could possibly conceive. When I was younger, I thought this would be the coolest thing to do. To give people easy fixes. Given that I had a bit of a rescuer syndrome, it seemed natural that I would want to rescue everyone from their miseries and make life all rosy for them. Tell them their problems as well as their solutions, comfort them. Bring about some objectivity etc.
It took my mom (thank God for her!) to bring me to my senses. Her question was, if we are finding out a child’s strengths and weaknesses in advance, exposing them to flash cards wayyy toooo early in life ( yes some theories do ask you to expose infants to flash cards to speed up reading), aren’t we making machines out of them? And to what end is it? That got me thinking. My whole perspective changed. Simpy the fact that she didn’t give me any opinion but merely asked a question to get me to think baffled me. Could it be that simple?
If I were told as a child what I am good at, and what my weaknesses are, I would naturally incline towards development of my strengths and my weaknesses will be systematically avoided (consciously or unconsciously but definitely avoided. Why invest where there are no returns?). Hasn’t Harry potter given us our biggest lesson in self fulfilling prophecy? That it isn’t true till we act on it? Agreed that life would be easier if we knew what we could possibly excel at, if we knew the profiles of our spouses and hence acted in accordance, our lives would have lesser conflicts.
But does lack of conflicts translate automatically to happiness? Also, what happens when I know the future? All I have to do is work towards it. With the mystery and surprise taken away from it, I wonder if there is any ‘awe’ moment left in life. Even if something great did happen, it wouldn’t surprise me! Oh, you know that test did say I would become this! So where is the joy in achieving?
Labelling is hard anyways, but is it necessary to label someone on paper and make it official? Do we tell people their strengths and weaknesses and rob them of the opportunity to explore and find it out themselves? And finally what about interests? Do we completely disregard them? I can be really bad at sports, but can still love it! I cannot make a movie to save my life, does it mean I can’t be a damn good critic? Is it so hard to believe that someone may have affinities that are vastly different from their strengths?
My concern, has been, and will always be- why do things have to be complicated? Why do I have to collect mass data, spend years analysing it and then come up with software that would give one full report? Diagnosis, in times of desperate needs, I agree is essential cause it gives direction to any kind of treatment. But diagnosis for the sake of precaution bothers me especially when we talk about psychological constructs such as emotions, thoughts, ideas, motivation, intelligence, creativity, impulsivity etc. which have largely subjective meanings. They change from researcher to researcher, from one culture to another, yet we freely use them as attributions not knowing that the attributtee might have a completely different understanding of it and hence you may not be able to communicate it effectively. Add to that, every construct we speak off, can have thousands of behaviours that are indicative of it and we haven’t even started to talk about it’s measure. How much of that behaviour is called impulsivity? How many fluent ideas make creativity? If my first idea is the best practical idea and I stop at that, does it mean I lack fluency? Also isn’t too much thought awesome at some point and detrimental at some other times?
I prefer if things were kept simple. If I went through a little pain to discover myself. That would mean me valuing the discovery much more and hence working a lot more around it, with end result being happiness. I wish people wouldn’t worry so much and rush into anything and everything. I hope things are done more simply, as things done simply bring about clarity you can’t expect otherwise. Sometimes it is the easiest and the most obvious that is the correct answer.
Isn’t it ironical, that I had to make it so complicated just to say ‘keep it simple’ ?