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Poll: What Are Your Talents?

wire-brushWhen I’m having a bad day, week, or hour, Janette usually says: “Now then my precious kitty, lay your dainty little noggin on me lap and tell me what is troubling you, my wonderful little tulip petal.  How would you like to try on one of my shirts?”  Then she scratches my head with a hard wire brush and gives me compliments until I feel better.

After my post about possible botox injections, we were having a good talk and she said something very true:

“Wouldn’t it suck to have all these problems and not be good at anything?”

Whoa.  Yes, it would, but whoa…this woman has her moments, I reckon.

After that conversation, I wrote a blog post.  It was pretty good.  Then I played the guitar.  It was even better.  Then I went and lifted.  Great progress.  All good things.  All things I am good at.

So–if there’s an antidote for darkness and depression, maybe it comes in the form of what you and I are good at.  Or maybe I could fly Janette out to scratch your scalp with the brush.

But first, let’s try this: what are you good at?  Kindness?  Sewing?  Baton twirling?  Let’s talk.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Henri December 18, 2009, 4:58 am

    I want the brush!

    I think I’m good at doing weird stuff and sharing my experiences with others. I tend to think I’m fairly good at writing, but that might just be my ego. I can always get better at it so no worries there! 😉

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 9:14 am

      1. you are a great writer. 2. You can always get better, but you know that, obviously. “Weird stuff?”

  • Nikki H. December 18, 2009, 7:13 am

    Yeah, exerting control over what you CAN control definitely makes those things you can’t a little more bearable. That’s why depression etc. is so insidious – it makes you question the value of those things you are good at.

    I’m good at music, cooking, and being helpful in a crisis.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 9:13 am

      I think “insidious” is the best possible word to describe the problem of depression, and you’re right: it takes away the small pleasures. Do you play an instrument? Many of them?

  • Heather December 18, 2009, 7:14 am

    What I’m Good At–Das List:

    Making people laugh
    Helping kids save documents, retreive documents, edit documents, print documents, and e-mail documents as attachments to their teachers
    Doing dishes (Janette, I’m on my way!)
    Fixing computers
    Helping people find information
    Wiggling into small/tight spaces—I can even help people run wires. I did that this summer a couple of times
    Helping people find calm in chaos by BEING CALM when there is chaos

    Thanks for this one, Josh, and tell Janette I’ll clean the bathroom, too, if she wants. This was a great flippin’ post!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 9:12 am

      Staying calm is invaluable, or so I’ve heard:)

  • Kevin December 18, 2009, 7:26 am

    I think I want the brush too.

    I’m good at being a dad.
    I’m good at encouraging people.
    I’m good at going to the bathroom – Just ask my wife
    I’m good at doing my job well – whatever the job is.
    I’m good at spelling – Oh wait I mean I’m good at mySpellingSucks.
    I’m good at being a friend.
    Hi Josh 😉

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 9:10 am

      All important things. Life would be very difficult if you never learned how to go to the bathroom.

  • Chris December 18, 2009, 8:22 am

    Good points Josh (or Janette, either way).

    I’d like to think I’m good at photography, and getting better every time I shoot.
    I’m also pretty strong for my size, although I’m nowhere near that 48-kilo kettlebell!
    And I’m good at schoolwork. Blessing and a curse…

    Keep on writing 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 9:09 am

      Chris, what’s the curse side of being good at schoolwork?

      • Chris December 20, 2009, 2:51 pm

        Well, usually it’s really enjoyable and interesting. However, when an educational institution is involved, I’ve found that the interesting stuff also tends to get you involved in really boring topics as well.

  • Rebecca Rizzuti December 18, 2009, 8:40 am

    *Really* great post, Josh! I love the way that you engage your community, sincerely.

    I’m going to handle this one in a trackback scheduled to go out while we’re out of town for Christmas, but I did want to let you know that it was coming…. Eventually. This is the second one of your polls I’m handling that way, but I’ve got to say that I get more material to write about here than from almost any other source.

    Good for you for making me think!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 9:09 am

      That is great to hear, Rebecca. And I’ll tell you a secret that’s not a secret: I get most of my inspiration for writing from reading other things.

  • Terrence December 18, 2009, 9:01 am

    What am I good at?? Playing guitar, writing, dancing, picking out greeting cards(yea, I said it!!), analyzing movies, lifting weight(well, not so much these days because of shoulder pain) remembering songs, and eating fast (bad habit)!!

    p.s. Nobody calls me a precious kitty!! THEM’S FIGHT’N WORDS!!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 9:08 am

      Terrence, that is awesome that you know you are good at picking out greeting cards. What’s going on with your shoulder?

      • Terrence December 19, 2009, 8:10 am

        about my shoulder: I pulled a tendon in my right one three years ago benchpressing using bad form. the thing still bothers me to this day. My doc told me that my benchpressing days are over.

  • Jenny December 18, 2009, 9:59 am

    1. Zoning out.
    2. Being awkward.
    3. Occasionally rationalizing why sushi for lunch is a NEED. Not a WANT.
    4. Giving friends relationship/life advice and then practicing the exact opposite in my own life.

    • Kevin December 18, 2009, 1:07 pm

      I understand the sushi thing and advice thing.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 1:38 pm

      How does one become more awkward? I can’t seem to manage it.

      • Jenny December 18, 2009, 4:54 pm

        I’m currently working on going the other direction, but should I fail, I will definitely let you know!

  • Emily Jane December 18, 2009, 12:06 pm

    I’m good at…

    writing (I hope)
    spelling and grammar
    baking cupcakes
    graphic design
    remembering random B-list actors from obscure shows/movies I saw once, years ago,
    making costumes
    and finally, for the first time in my life, being determined to follow through on my goals and continue to grow as a person

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 1:37 pm

      Procrastinating…yes. I left that one out of my own on accident.

  • Liz December 18, 2009, 12:24 pm

    I’m good at a few things!

    I’m good at arguing.

    I’m good at being completely unintimidated by the largest, most powerful, and most famous people I meet. (This has gotten me into trouble, and yet I’m STILL good at it.)

    I’m really good at learning something new once I set my mind to it, even when it’s something that I’m not naturally gifted at doing.

    I’m an excellent singer, and I’m good at inspiring and moving people with my voice.

    And doggone it, I have fantastic diction. So good, in fact, that it was observed (in acting class) that it makes me sounds like a trust fund, private school attending, spoiled brat. As a public school educated middle-class person, I find this amusing.

    Now the list of things I’m NOT good at is a bit too lengthy for your comment section, so I’ll just keep that to myself.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 1:37 pm

      Liz, Janette is a singer and thus a huge fan of good diction. Let’s hear some singing! Make a video and send it to me as a guest post. Run, don’t walk!

      • Liz December 18, 2009, 10:27 pm

        Hah Josh, no video I did would do my voice justice. The sound recorders on most cameras are just not designed to capture the soprano voice with any level of accuracy. I actually have some pretty decent sound recording equipment at home, but would be recording a capella, which is not ideal.

        I can give you a quick sample off the cuff. Two years ago, I was singing with a group at work, and was the featured soloist on one of the pieces. I have a recording of that, so I’ve linked it for you below:


        Honestly, it’s not the best song to showcase my voice, but at least it’s a good recording and has music with it. I’m singing a Mark Hayes piece on Sunday with the choir at church and it’s much more moving. It would be nice if someone were to record that!

        Anyway, I hope you enjoy “Always.”

  • Boris Bachmann December 18, 2009, 1:07 pm

    Just sent a shirt your way Josh, but I’m a little worried that an XXL will be too small. I guess it will probably fit you better than that pink thing!

  • Chris Baltzley December 18, 2009, 1:32 pm

    When I get to feeling overwhelmed with “got to’s” like I am right now, my knee-jerk reaction is to say I’m not really good at anything. Thanks for the kick-in-the-butt!

    A few things I CAN think of right now:
    1. Hanging pictures on the wall PERFECTLY level – by eye
    2. Sitting still even when my muscles are screaming if the cat is soooo comfortable on my lap
    3. Being thankful for my sweetie no matter what
    4. Noticing the small little things like the lizard on the hibiscus this morning
    5. Knowing what movie it is on the TV usually within 2 minutes or less of watching

    Not gonna get any more serious than that today – it’s Friday.
    Knowing good design when I see it

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 1:36 pm

      Wow, your cat gets a good deal out of that.

  • Robert Bravery December 18, 2009, 1:32 pm

    Nice post Josh,

    While I don’t like bragging and blowing your own trumpet. I certainly believe you must have faith and believe in your own abilities.

    You need to know what you’re good at, but not be arrogant about it.

    I’m good at Programming, Database development, website development.
    I’m good at preaching, I’m a good dad and husband.

    Being Good at something does not mean you are perfect, or that you have arrived. That’s arrogance. Being Good at something just gives you more reason to be better and to strive at getting better at what you do all the time.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 1:35 pm

      “Being good at something does not mean you have arrived.” I like that a lot.

  • Jessica Marie December 18, 2009, 1:47 pm

    After a few moments of thought, I realize that I am good at the following:

    *Being an Aunt (I’ve been called a “Baby Whisperer” more than once)
    *Seeing needs that other people don’t
    *Reading books out loud to children (and child-like adults)
    *Making small talk with complete strangers
    *Typing 65+ words in a minute during long, boring meetings

  • Randy December 18, 2009, 1:54 pm

    I’m pretty good at a lot of things, but not good enough to make a respectable living at any of them. So in practical terms, I suck at everything. Except being underemployed and under paid…at that I excel. (I have an MFA in Painting, it is essentially an advanced degree in under-employability)

    • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 1:56 pm

      Randy, I noticed that you’re getting very adept at pushing MC’s buttons over on the forum:)

      • Randy December 18, 2009, 2:39 pm

        As Hobson said to Arthur, “That’s what I live for.”

        • Boris Bachmann December 18, 2009, 3:18 pm

          I sent an XL your way yesterday.

          • Randy December 18, 2009, 4:42 pm

            Sweet. A Cool Kid am I now.

  • Laura Kimball December 18, 2009, 2:06 pm

    I am good at being ambitious, planning, setting goals, and achieving them.

    I am good at making life happen not waiting for it to happen to me.

  • Janette H December 18, 2009, 2:13 pm

    I’m good at making gingerbread houses. Maybe sometime Josh will do a post about my insane gingerbread obsessive-compulsive side. Complete with pictures! (please, Josh, come on…you won’t lose readers, I promise!!)
    I bake like a wizard.
    I put my anger to positive use–I clean. Josh worries when the house is especially tidy.
    I don’t say everything I’m thinking.
    I word process with ease.
    I’m good at teaching.
    I’m reliable for coming up with the occasional good idea.

    And I don’t encourage Josh to wear my clothes.

    • Larissa December 18, 2009, 2:38 pm

      Yeah, Josh! Where are pictures of those incredible gingerbread houses. . . I thought I saw one in the background of one of your videos. . .

      • Josh Hanagarne December 18, 2009, 3:04 pm

        The gingerbread houses are an obsession of Janette’s that I’m not currently comfortable unveiling to the world. For about 17 hours in a row each year, I lose her to to a bleary-eyed, short-tempered, icing-covered loon who I don’t recognize anymore. It is a time of great loneliness and fear. One day, she will snap and build a house big enough for us to live in.

  • Larissa December 18, 2009, 2:45 pm

    Some things that I love and that I’m good at:
    designing bags
    kiddie crafts!
    making peppermint bark and rocky road fudge
    talking/keeping conversations going 🙂
    making my kids laugh first thing in the morning

  • Wendy December 18, 2009, 4:32 pm

    My Mother wrote her Christmas letter and detailed a few of the highlights and accomplishments of her five adult children. There was a nursing degree, a master’s degree with a PhD on the horizon, a starting of graduate school, two new babies, a flourishing career and a fabulous wedding. That was for my two brothers and two sisters. I got “Wendy always has funny stories to tell us and she amazes us with her tennis, biking and daily trips to the gym.”

    KaPOW! That’s what I’m good at.

  • Srinivas Rao December 18, 2009, 5:31 pm

    Let’s see. I have a list of a few things:

    1)Talking with people, hence the podcast
    2) i’m a decent surfer now
    3) Once upon a time I was good at playing the tuba
    4) Coming up with new ideas.

    Interestingly enough, if people focused on what they were good at tied it into their blog somehow they would find themselves growing really fast.

  • Michelle McGee December 18, 2009, 8:04 pm

    I’ve never been really comfortable saying I’m good at things because I never want to sound boastful. These are things I have been told that I’m good at:
    Listening to other people
    Being a kind person
    My kids say I am a good singer (which is lovely considering that I’ve always had an obsession with becoming a Broadway Diva)
    My mom says I am good mother to my boys
    My husband says I am good at making people laugh

    So there’s my list. Great post, once again, Josh.

  • Eric December 18, 2009, 9:57 pm

    I love these polls. It’s great to read all the responses from everyone.
    I am good at:
    Being a fun and loving dad.
    Writing and proofreading.
    Fixing computers.
    Making friends.
    Falling asleep at bedtime (I’m usually out in about 30 seconds.)

  • ATG December 18, 2009, 10:59 pm

    Hey brother, exceptional job on the website this week. I am very pleased with all upgrades. I will be calling tomorrow we need to chat about a few items. Keep on keep’n on…

  • Laura Cococcia December 19, 2009, 7:14 am

    Josh – God bless Janette, she is a pillar of patience.

    On a serious note, I think I’m good at making others feel comfortable, adding humor to difficult situations and making friends. I think I’m a decent writer. I caveat it all by saying I’m always looking to improve on these fronts.

  • Cathy N. December 19, 2009, 6:44 pm

    I’m a good choral singer.
    I write reasonably well, and accurately and quickly. (Doesn’t matter whether I’ve been given 30 days or 30 minutes, I’ll always write it in the last 30 minutes.)
    I’m good at giving birth, making milk and taking care of babies.
    I’m good at making Halloween costumes.
    I can cook pretty well.

  • David December 19, 2009, 11:36 pm

    I’m good at comedy and spackling. My gifts of the Spirit. Good at them without practice. Confidentially, I practice the comedy more…but if you’ve hung a lot of pictures on your apartment wall and want to get your deposit back, I’m your man.

  • Elizabeth December 23, 2009, 10:32 pm

    Catching up on my blog reading and as a recovering perfectionist, I LOVE this post! I’m a musician and would berate myself if something wasn’t perfect – never mind 99 perfect measures, I would focus on the 1 bad one. To break that habit, I had to tell myself (out loud sometimes) to stop and then would make a conscious effort to focus on what I’d done well.

    I’m good at:
    – Music
    – Being a wife & mom
    – Organizing (despite what my house looks like!)
    – Typing, spelling, grammar
    – Keeping a sense of humor even when stressed

    Thanks Josh 🙂

  • Beth L. Gainer December 24, 2009, 11:18 pm

    Hey Josh,

    I’m good at writing and reading, but not rithmetic. I’m also talented at art — drawing and oil painting.

    I’m also a master at worrying, overthinking, and overanalyzing.