rant 2: incompetency

rant 2: incompetency
By: Guess and Check, Editor-in-Chief

I’m writing this spiel at 1:50 AM. Like the last one, this is mostly a self-pitying rank because yes. Unlike the last one, I’ll probably look over this at least once, given the time [and yes, I am now editing this a day later! Yipee. Anything I write in brackets is a full 24 hours after the non-bracket stuff was written. Gives this piece character. xD]

In any case - have you ever felt incompetent? Ever felt like no matter what you do, no matter how much supposed experience you have or the abilities you’ve gained or the insights you’ve perceived in a matter - that you’re always lacking, always perpetually behind everyone else? That you immeasurably, irreplaceably, suck ass and can never improve? I’m sure you have, because most people have - and I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say it stinks.

It’s kind of insane to me, this feeling. The most recent I’ve felt is today, really, actually. I was with UDSAF and LibCord dealing with raiders, trying to chase them (very fun), but due to my laggy scripts and general newbieness to the craft, I was behind. And this may not be a bad thing, but as someone whose kept some eye on R/D for two or three years, has been doing some light updating and etc. for the past year, and has chased before… It was kind of humbling. And despairing. Because I’m literally the leader of a military in another region, and here I am bumbling my feet around like an idiot - falling flat on my face.

Another example today - ‘cuz why not. For the past few months, I’ve been the media designer for a conference a club at my school is hosting in a year. Basically just designing the conference’s materials - nothing major, nothing I haven’t done before. But due to some re-arrangements, I was promoted today to a job I didn’t expect. And in this case, I wasn’t really despairing but scared and stressed - because I wasn’t sure if I could do this new job. I didn’t feel nearly competent enough, but I also wasn’t sure if I should resign - whether I’d be failing the person who had decided to promote me. Something in me also wonders if I was promoted because I wasn’t performing as well in the media job, and they just shoved me up to the next best spot they thought I could fit. The person who replaced me has waaaay better media credentials than I do. And it’s just… I don’t know.

(I accepted the promotion, btw. Might as well try it out.)

And that feeling of incompetence exists within anything I’ve done in UDS as well. UDS is a beautiful region, a great one - and I’m very happy to be here. But when I see other regions that tend to surpass us in terms of activity, despite us and them being similar sizes - I can’t help but see that I’m doing something wrong. That I’m just sucky at even region-building, which is really the only thing I’ve gotten good at during 5 years and change in this game. That regardless of how much I care and do things for this region, I simply can’t do enough to push us to a place that’s healthier for us as a community. [Yes, this presumes I’m the only one doing anything here, and no that's extremely far from the truth - crap ton of people do stuff in UDS and many more do more than I. But as I say in a second - these feelings ain’t rational.]

The worse thing is that I know all of these emotions and feelings are, to put it bluntly, false. In some cases, I am incompetent. I do, really, suck at chasing. But that’s because I just need more practice and experience. And for UDS - region-building just tends to be luck of the draw, often. Nothing much I can do about that. [And, again, to presume my actions make or break the region is plainly incorrect.] And so on. Rationally, I know that I’m not stuck in some mysterious pit of incompetency forever.

Yet, it doesn’t really help me address this feeling. I still feel like an imposter oftentimes - like I don’t belong where I am wherein everyone else does. I feel like it’s only been a few days since I joined NationStates, and I’m still learning how the World Assembly works while everyone around me is powergaming the entire site or becoming something in this game.

I guess, if there’s anything positive to take from this - it’s to show that even people in more “powerful” positions often don’t know what they’re doing. I, certainly, do not, despite being a former Vice-President and current Administrator. Another thing to see, I guess - there will always be people who are better than you at something. Don’t compare yourself to them - because then you feel like me, and the feelings I’ve described here are unfun (even if very common). Feeling incompetent sucks, because you feel like you’re failing everyone who even remotely depends on you. And it sucks.

[To elaborate a little more on that - it's perfectly fine to be out of your depth, to not know what you're doing, etc. Feelings of incompetency tend to spring from three things, I think - a) feeling if you suck at something even if you just need more practice, b) comparing yourself to others, or c) feeling like you should be in charge of things you either can't be in charge of or don't fully control.

For a, that's just you have too-high expectations of yourself. Doing new things can suck, and usually they take a lot of effort. So, and this goes in line with b, don't compare yourself to others! Hard as doing that is, it's important to avoid self-comparison as a way of self-doubt. There are times when self-comparison may be good - maybe it motivates you, help you establish and track goals, etc. - but if you're self-comparing and just feeling bad from it - don't do it. As for c - I guess this is just natural and something all of us have to work through, but yeah! Sometimes, things aren't in your control. Sometimes, they never will be. A strong part of life, from what I understand with my young brain, is learning when to hold yourself accountable for something and when to realize something simply isn't your fault.]

So don’t be like me, folks!

And in any case, it is now 2:14 AM and I can’t think clearly anymore. So good night!