My worst personality trait has always been my need for instant gratification. If I don’t get the thing I want the second I want it, I go berserk. Not in the crazy, screaming, throwing things way (well, maybe once or twice), but in the frantic, anxiety-riddled way. If I see something I really want to buy, I’ll think about it night and day until I finally get it. If I set a goal for myself, I’ll let it consume me and get down on myself if I don’t accomplish it right away. And if I develop a crush on a guy, I’ll go crazy thinking about him, wanting him to be my boyfriend without the fuss of having to flirt with and impress him.
So you can probably see how frustrating it must be for someone like me to dream of becoming an author and actress, since both careers’ taglines are basically “Hurry up and wait.” And, yeah. It’s been a really big struggle for me. Especially since my attention span is that of a goldfish. When I don’t get the thing I want immediately, I tend to give up on it without a second thought. Oh, I’m not a dance prodigy after only three dance classes? Guess I’ll quit. That guy doesn’t seem like he’s into me after I tried flirting with him once? Well, there’s plenty of other fish in the sea. Like… What? No! That’s not how that works! You don’t give up, you keep trying! You make it happen.
And that’s what I’ve had to learn these past few months. I’ve had to learn to be patient. I’ve had to learn to keep going, even when I don’t get what I want right away. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not the exception to every rule. I’m not going to get accepted by the first literary agent I query. I’m not going to be cast in a starring role the first time I audition for something. And just because those things won’t happen, that doesn’t mean I should give up.
I won’t lie. It’s been a hard lesson to learn. But what’s really helped me is that I’ve been focusing more on short-term goals that I can achieve immediately. For example, I know I still have a long way to go until I’m a professional author and actress, but I took the first step toward becoming a professional by updating my website (you can check it out here if you want). I set the goal for myself, and then I wanted to accomplish it right away, so did. It also helps for me to think about how much more rewarding my eventual successes will be when they weren’t just handed to me. When I actually had to work for them. I imagine they’ll be twice as sweet, and I can’t wait.
So, I’ve taken an unhealthy need to get what I want immediately and turned it into a drive to make things happen quickly. I’ve changed a fatal flaw into a useful tool, which is pretty dang cool. Now, if I could only do that with my procrastination problem (and, yes, I understand the irony in the juxtaposition of my two worst personality traits, but somehow they actually coexist nicely… And by nicely I mean they work together to torture me in unique and hellish ways).
What about you? What’s your worst personality trait? Does it cause any problems for you, specifically in trying to achieve your dreams? And is there a way you could change it to make it something that could help you succeed? Let me know in the comments below!