School Survival

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How to find out what you're good at

How to find out what you're good at

How do you find out what you want and what you're good at, and is education the only way to find a good job and live a good life?


We are expected to know these things and plan ahead. School pressures us into choosing courses in a matter of days. Because of all the choices we have today our lives have become more and more uncertain. I have absolutely no plans for the coming months and years whereas if I lived hundreds of years ago I would have been preparing myself for the family trade.

Only recently have I found out what I am good at. My greatest skill is finding patterns and solving problems. This makes it simple for me to learn technical things because they all follow set patterns. Unfortunately this skill is the only one I really have. I do not have very good social skills, my body is weak, and my will often succumbs to the path of least resistance instead of the path of greatest good.

Finding what you are good at is hard. Skills and talent turns up in many places. Think of what you do on a daily basis and try to find out what parts of your mind and body you use. If you play a lot of video games then you may have many talents and skills. Strategy games need quick thinking and planning, shooters need good reflexes and coordination, and online games need teamwork. The idea of my best skill just came to me out of the blue. I was thinking of random things then I suddenly realized what I was good at. That only happened two months ago, meaning I didn't know what it was for almost 17 years.

One thing you said did interest me. I do believe that learning and education can help people out both at work and in their daily lives. But education does not necessarily mean public schools or college. Learning is something that happens all throughout life and is not always dependent on books or even teachers. Certain skills need to be taught and demonstrated but not all of them. My grandfather left school when he was 13 but he served in the British Navy and had jobs in public works (engineering) for most of his life.

Here is what I recommend you do: stop worrying. Some things just take time. Don't stress yourself thinking about the future. Try your best to find what you are good at. There really isn't much else to say. It's just one of those things that only you can do. We can travel along as companions but we cannot force you to follow the path.


Well, those are some pretty tough questions. Sounds like the kinda thing you have to figure out for yourself. I think one of your problems may be that you're trying to figure it all out right now. I used to do that, and it made me feel miserable. Trying to figure out the whole rest of your life in one night isn't a very good thing to do, because it creates feelings of uncertainty, and makes everything seem pointless.

As weird as this may sound, I'd say to just wait it out, stick with things a little longer, and they could get better.


Not sure if this makes you feel any better... I'm 24. Until recently, I had no clue what I wanted to do "for a living". Everything I thought about had some aspect that pissed me off. Even the one I'm considering at the moment is likely to have it's problems, but it *might* be okay. But I haven't done enough research yet anyway... :)

Here's a few stupid questions to think about that may or may not help:

Complete the following statements: 1) I enjoy __________ 2) I have fun when I ______________. 3) I am happiest when _____________. 4) I've always wanted to ____________. 5) I'd be very upset at the thought of dying without ever having experienced ____________. 6) One thing I've always wanted to see is _________________. 7) The one thing I'd love to do but am not sure I can is _____________. 8) Other people tell me I should pursue ___________. 9) I really seem to have a talent for ___________. 10) Describe what you'd like your life to look like if there were no limits.

How to find out what you're interested in

Stratovarius said:

I don't really see any way to do this though...I mean, I don't see how you could not know what you're interested in.

There's the genetics factor, although your environment does play a large role in how you eventually turn out. I think I got into science because I went to this observatory when I was like 5 and I thought it was the coolest shit ever. So I got a telescope and some books on astronomy and naturally I just found out about other stuff. I also got my first computer all to myself when I was 7 and The Internets when I was 9 (IE 5 ftw).

Although I've tried out a lot of things.

I saw a user called "obleakpattern" on DA who draws abstract art. I thought that was epic so I bought some good art pens and a 50-pack of some large vellum paper and tried my hand at it. I actually drew what I thought were some decent pictures but it took me too long and it was hard to come up with stuff so I gave it up.

I tried poetry for a time and was pretty serious about it. I read up at the Poetry Free For All forums, looked at the guides, critiqued other's crap. But I found it difficult and eventually got bored with it so I gave that up.

I tried programming for a bit. I got C++ for dummies and worked through it (it's actually a good It was hard and I was like..meh! I also attempted to design web pages...and failed miserably. So I gave that up.

I tried music production for a bit and piano. I got an illegal copy of FL studio, a full-sized MIDI keyboard (it was only 200 bucks which is a fucking ridiculous deal and the keys are semi-weighted so look up m-audio midi keyboards if you're interested), I studied music theory from various sources. My best friend is actually some epic music person who plays like 17 instruments so I collabed with him...It was pretty hard for me and tiring considering you can spend several hours trying to tweak a single generator and come up with crap even if you know what you're doing...So I gave that up. I still play my keyboard from time to time though even if I suck.

Idk...I basically discovered that I'm too much of an academic. I suck with people, can't be creative, I despise business-type stuff, not sure about any trade skills though. I don't think I've really tried any but I don't see how you could see which ones you like considering there's so many and you'd have to go to school for it. I'm pretty interested in permaculture and I wish I could practice it, but you have to have a lot of time for that and it requires too much prep.

So even though I've pretty much liked math forever and pwned all the kids at flashcards in elementary school, it's not like all that was a waste of time and money just because I returned to math eventually.

You shouldn't feel bad when someone says you've "quit" something, especially your parents. My dad thinks I keep giving up on stuff. I disagree. I was merely investigating and after all that time, I became even more interested in what I liked than before because I discovered what I really loved to do. But hey, I'm only 17 and who knows, I could totally change my mind in a few years and be doing something else.

Stuff I've quit and I've definitely left some stuff out: poetry, art, programming, web design, music production, basketball (used to be a starting wing), bowling (played from about age 5 to 15, 160 average FTW), airplane modeling, do-it-yourself culture, amateur astronomy, countless softwares I tried to learn, and other insignificant things...also school. Also, I don't know how many times I've switched my career plans and "what I want to be when I grow up".

So just don't be afraid to try random things, study random things, talk to random people. I don't know how many times my dad has said to me with that ugly look of his, "I don't know what's going on here. You've quit _____ and _____ and now you're getting out of ____? What's the problem? I don't want you to end up like your brother. I hope you're not headed into this downward spiral." Honestly, anyone who says stuff like this is immature and stupid. So if you're parents say things like that just ignore them. Do whatever you want.

Leonardo da Vinci

One of the biggest quitters of all was Leonardo da Vinci. I wonder if his parents ever told him to stop flitting about — painting, engineering, sculpture, botany, anatomy, architecture, music, poetry, etc. – and just stick with one thing. Otherwise, no one would hire him. Imagine Leonardo's Mom saying to him, "For Christ sakes, Leo! Last week you told me you were going to be an engineer... and now I catch you painting! You march yourself back outside, young man, and go finish that Yard-a-pult monstrosity you started last week." -[ Steve Pavlina]

Where to next? Pick one!

Posted in: Knowledgebase on May 30, 2023 @ 7:04 PM

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