On being mediocre

On being mediocre

I've never been special and I've always struggled to achieve.

Whenever I pick up any programming challenge, it takes me too long to complete it, and then I see folks doing it much faster and/or better. I try solving Advent of Code every year, and then some task takes too much time and I start hating myself for not being smart enough.

I dwell into music practice, learning theory and production, but still after a decade I don't play any instrument well enough, and don't have any decent completed records.

I take practical courses on machine learning and still fail to apply it to real-world problems (building just another classifier doesn't count, it's real-world yes but not practical for my needs).

I spent 5 years studying various high math disciplines but I fail to do even the basic pen-and-paper trigonometry or linear algebra now.

I am not a master of any tool. My knowledge is spread wide, but I lack guru skills in any of them. Hell, my Raspberry Pi and the weather sensor have been lying around for several years now, and I can't build the automated data collector and a dashboard for them.

I hoped I'd be something special in life, but I'm mediocre at best.

Despite that, for some reason I'm okay. I've always been considered a top performer, got promoted fast at every place I worked (ok, welcome 2023). I don't get why, but people around me also seem to think I'm doing fine, even though there is nothing worse any prase from my point of view.

I guess I just stick around doing basic things. I get obsessed easily, and then go into hyper-focus for a long time. I'm a trickster with a handful tiny literacy cheat under my belt.

But where does that unnerving unsatisfactory feeling come from? Could it be that I'm stuck in some local maximum? Maybe I'm doing well enough in this local range, and yet I'm struggling because I must aim for a wider one? Let's fuck around and find out.