Recently, there’s been some discussions in my family regarding a personality trait we all share, us three.
It’s that go-getter attitude that many people admire or even want to have – a determined, straight-forward attitude that focuses on one step after another towards the goal.
I am proud to have it, we all are, though I wanted to highlight that it also has negative effects on our lives and fortunately since we have the same trait, I can understand it within my father and sibling. We have it in our history as great academic achievers, straight-forward talkers/debaters and have a high standard of excellence that extends beyond just my inner family. Yet, the way of approaching goals in an immediate, driven manner is all we’ve known most of our lives, especially from an Asian background (which are reputed for our obsession with good grades and social standing, mostly true).
Being driven and jumping straight from goal to goal in order to, hopefully, elicit an excellent result can also cripple you in life. Why?
You expect almost immediate results once you follow the steps.
You logicise everything, even emotions, when sometimes there is no easy explanation.
“If it’s not this, it’s that.”
“This doesn’t work? A waste of time.”
Those are phrases you would hear in our household often. While this may even work financially or in a career sense, it’s not very effective for handling emotions or emotional situations. This, I think, may even be the result of the great masculine energy in our family, having been raised with a very traditional, yet single father.
My father had been taught by my grandfather to be straight forward, deal with it or not – ‘nut up or shut up’, which is also a part of the masculinity in our culture. While this has helped in dealing with troubling times and keeping our strength and resilience – this does not bode well for certain goals in our lives.
I have been thinking on this for a while and there is a metaphor that I like to use to describe this situation: a field of crops and the go-getter as the farmer.
Some crops grow very quickly, only after a little bit of time and the right preparation by the farmer. Sometimes goals that you pursue really pay off in the time you have planned. Things like work success, school grades, etc.
Yet some other crops take much longer to grow, you cannot pull them out early since they will be useless. They will grow come the time. Things like establishing emotional connections, finding relationships, reconnecting with family and friends. A go-getter may see that after taking the first correct steps, nothing is happening in these emotional goals and feel like it’s a waste of time since there seems to be no way forward. Not really.
It will come and grow in its own time but there is a step forward and a duty for the farmer. It is their responsibility to make sure that the field is always healthy and ready for the plant.
Which means looking after yourself, keeping your goals and values clear and aligned and working on any other parts of your life that may need more attention first. It means learning to be confident of who you are and that you are content and happy in your life. Other people sense when someone is happy and content, just from their atmosphere and how they subconsciously carry themselves. From there, people will find it easier to want to connect with you and get along with you, whether they are familiar to you or not. Just check in with yourself, am I in a good place to achieve the goal I am aiming for? Am I ready to receive it or do I need to prepare more and exercise some patience?
Keep your fields healthy and let the rest take care of itself!