competition and criticism
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Lauren Owens, Untitled, 2009
I used to get really mad at myself whenever I didn’t do anything well. Now I just do it again, slower, more carefully. Usually it turns out better. I have always thought of myself as a generalist, which just means that I expect to be competent at everything I put my mind to. But I try not to let the weight of that show. Most of my friends are extravagantly, professionally competitive, and I find this quality somewhat embarrassing—I’ve never wanted to be someone who wears my neuroses on my sleeve.
Which doesn’t mean that I’m immune to comparison. I remember talking to L in the kitchen, how she pointed out that I was a maximizer, not a satisfier. I always want to feel like I’m participating in the best possible transaction. I’m very idealistic, but I would never let that get in the way of my pragmatism. It’s just that I have high expectations for what’s pragmatic.