Thursday, April 17, 2008


Well, it is confession time: I have pretty much zero discipline. I know... aren't you surprised by this revelation? I have gotten/get by in life primarily through a combination of natural ability, the deliberate placement of myself in situations where I know there is external structure, and harnessing the energy of those bursts of passion which seem to come and go as they choose.

I've always been a little bummed out by this fact. Consistency, discipline, and structure are all highly desirable traits in our society. I deeply admire people who are able to apply themselves like that.

However, somehow I seem to have internalized the value of these positive attributes -- which do not come naturally to me -- to mean that floatiness (really the best term I can come up with to describe the lack of those qualities without defining it merely as their absence) is something to strip oneself of, something to fight. Perhaps it is cultural, to feel and believe these things?

But then I thought, "Why should I feel that way? Who says discipline is better?" If I take a moment to examine where I am in life, where I've been, and where I am going, I realize that I feel pretty satisfied actually. Proud, even. I completed a challenging educational program. I graduated with reasonably good grades. I secured a fun, technical, AND creative job in my field. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am a little (or a lot) different from other engineers. That is fine. I am contributing. I am helping to push into new frontiers. I am synthesizing. I am generally happy.

And the future? You guessed it. Full of possibilities.

Three cheers for floaty folk!


Beth said...

I've always thought that discipline's not inherently better. It's more difficult, I think, but it's another way of approaching a problem, and a lot of the time, you just need to pick the one that gets you the result you want.

Remember when I used to go into your room and admire its messiness? That was because it was, to me, a symbol of your creativity - what you call your "floatiness" - something I never quite mastered. Notice how my room is always clean?

You are consistent, by the way...consistently AWESOME.

eleka nahmen said...

I so relate to this post. "Floatiness" is such a great descriptor! And I think it has every bit as great an advantage as does Structure and Discipline. Perhaps the benefits are less tangible, but they are absolutely there.

The Dancing Newt said...

Yes, it is one of those "universal tensions" I have identified. Maybe I'll do a post on those...