Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Care Too Much

I might not show my emotions too often, but I definitely put my emotions into the things I spend my time on. My relationships, my work, my running and my goals all get pieces of my emotion. I feel that emotion has the ability to cause more stress than simply physical or mental challenges. Emotion is also a whole lot harder to quantify, which can be exceedingly frustrating to an analytical person like me.

I realized this as I was once again knitting my brow at work and getting depressed that I wasn't making as much progress as I would like. I immediately got up and refilled my water bottle or some other excuse to walk around for two minutes and relax a little bit. I get so bogged down in the pursuit of perfection that I get frustrated when my work, or other things, is harder than I expect. Running in many ways is a great way to deal with that frustration because you are only as good as you can run. The times are concrete. You can't fake a distance and a time. By the same token you get out what you put in. If you want to get better, you need to run a lot. That nice, rather linear quality allows me to not care so much about the progress that I am making because I can easily track how well I am progressing.

Engineering progress on the other hand, at least for me in the area of finite element simulations, seems to be hit and miss more than linear. I can go days without getting anything completed. That is frustrating and I care about being able to show at least a little progress every day. Even just a little measurable progress helps me maintain a very positive attitude.

Fortunately, I have had a number of break throughs the last couple of weeks at work. I am feeling more confident about my abilities. It funny, I spent so much time trying to get my self-esteem out of engineering out of the fear of unemployment and now I am putting as much emotion into work as anything. Emotions are a difficult thing. Feelings are not facts. I can say those things but at the end of the day I still want to feel good.

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