The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 June 2007

Bartholomew J. Simpson and I

The Northern Gleaner offers a test (by Dr Ken Christian) to see if you're an underachiever. I admit I didn't try very hard, but I've italicized the statements which best describe me:

  1. Taking shortcuts and doing the minimum possible even with important matters.
  2. Spending more time getting ready to work, getting out of work, or getting others to do it, than working.
  3. Inconsistent, insufficient effort.
  4. A lack of real engagement even in your most important life activities and relationships.
  5. Ambivalence in making decisions.
  6. Planning, scheming, and talking about things but not following through on them.
  7. Difficulties organizing work and organizing your life in general.
  8. Difficulties reaching distant goals due to a lack of appropriate planning and persistence.
  9. Repeated initial excitement for new ventures, followed by disappointment when the new wears off.
  10. False starts and frequent changes in direction and goals due to boredom, and a preference to start something new.
  11. Failure to complete important projects, whether pleasant or unpleasant.
  12. A tendency to quit things just as you begin to achieve success doing them.
  13. Procrastination.
  14. A history of being involved with relationships, jobs, or other situations that demand less than your true capabilities and therefore provide less than full satisfaction.
  15. Gravitating toward non-traditional occupations in order to avoid traditional structured work schedules or the demands of bosses or supervisors.
  16. A history of being stuck in situations that you thought would be temporary.
  17. Self-doubt and low or varying self-esteem.
  18. Fears that you will not be able to live up to your own expectations or those of others.
  19. Recurrent fears of that you are faking it or are a fraud and about to be found out.
  20. A paralyzing fear of striving for what you really want because you do not want to be disappointed or fail.
  21. Unrealistic notions of what is actually required for success.
  22. A history of keeping your options open by postponing serious commitments.
  23. Difficulties in appropriately balancing risks and opportunities with an habitual tendency to take unnecessary risks, or to play it too safe, or to alternate between the two strategies.
  24. Blaming failures on "bad luck" or other people instead of accepting personal responsibility for them.
  25. A feeling that you are socially inadequate and younger than your age and that you have fallen behind your peers in reaching important milestones.
  26. A feeling that time is running out and you haven't gotten started.
  27. Periods of depression.

Notes and/or excuses:

  1. Not that I have the time for this anymore.
  2. My expectations of myself are cunningly designed to make sure no one can possibly live up to them.
  3. All together now: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"
  4. I can think of no time in the last 41 years during which I felt in sync with my putative peers, with the possible exception of my days in the military, when I had, um, more immediate issues.
  5. There are fewer of these than before, though I have not ascertained whether this is due to a "healthier" mental state or simply giving less of a damn.

(Via the accomplished Julie R. Neidlinger.)

Posted at 12:26 PM to Screaming Memes


Sometimes I feel like #25. People my age are getting real jobs, getting married, having kids. And then I think: eh, whatever because the only person I'm responsible to is myself. And even that is almost more than I can handle.

Posted by: sya at 8:28 PM on 28 June 2007

When I was twenty-four, I had a real job (more or less), a spouse, and a child on the way. It didn't do anything to make me feel particularly grown up, except to push my nose a couple of centimeters closer to the grindstone.

I blame Tom Lehrer, then 37, who said this:

"It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. When Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years."

Posted by: CGHill at 8:45 PM on 28 June 2007

Are we related?

Posted by: Jason at 12:35 AM on 29 June 2007

For your sake, I hope not.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:07 AM on 29 June 2007

At my age, John Kennedy was President.

In a couple of years, I may reassess that comparison.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:16 AM on 29 June 2007

I took a quick look at the lit, but it was too much trouble to review the whole thing.

Posted by: triticale at 1:33 PM on 29 June 2007

Can someone read the list for me and give me the Cliff Note's version on what it says? I'd do it myself, but then I'd have accomplished something today.

Posted by: Venomous Kate at 1:04 PM on 30 June 2007

"If you have the slightest bit of doubt about yourself, you fail at life and should immediately throw yourself off an overpass."

Posted by: CGHill at 2:18 PM on 30 June 2007