Master of none

There are some things in SL that I’ve never quite mastered – simple, everyday things that most people seem to have little difficulty managing, yet for some reason, I’ve never quite managed to get the hang of.

And I do mean the simplest, most everyday activities. After 7 years spent in SL you’d think I’d be able to negotiate a simple doorway or flight of stairs, but even after all this time, I afraid you’d be wrong. Only this week I managed to trap myself in a doorway, helplessly trying to negotiate – and completely missing – the hole in the wall that I was trying to get through. Flying is another straightforward task that I’ve never really mastered, unless becoming hopelessly disorientated, crashing into buildings and spectacularly performing unplanned, wildly out of control aerobatics is actually the proper way to fly inworld, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not!

As for driving or controlling any vehicle, changing clothes in public whilst still preserving my modesty, or conducting more than one conversation in IM without causing acute embarrassment or confusion… Forget it! I just can’t do it. It seems that when it comes to simple, everyday inworld skills, I’m singularly inept.

Actually, when it comes down to it, I not exactly an expert at real life too. I don’t mean that I’m unable to navigate through doors or drive in the real world – I’m perfectly capable of doing those things, and I think I do them perfectly well – but considering all the varied and wide-ranging activities that I undertake on a regular basis, there are very few that I would say put me into the category of ‘expert’ or even ‘accomplished’. There are many skills I have that would certainly be considered adequate and sufficient for everyday needs, and in fact if I take a considered view, there are actually a vast array of things that I do at a level that is totally acceptable, very good even, but when it comes to excelling at something, this is a far more rarefied situation that could probably be numbered in single digits.

I don’t mind – I’m the sort of person who can turn my hand to pretty much anything and manage to achieve better than average results, and these skills are extremely wide ranging: Routine car maintenance; a variety of cookery styles; photography; film-making; writing; interior design; making computers do stuff; delivering presentations; DIY; wine-making… Quite a lot of things really, although there are some things that I’d love to be able to develop a degree of competence, but have failed to manage at every attempt – particularly art and playing a musical instrument. The thing is, I’d rather be pretty good at many different things and expert at none, than I’d want to be an expert in one or two skills, but hopeless in most other. I know which would give me a higher chance of survival in a zombie apocalypse, (clue: It’s not going to be the ability to play Beethoven’s 5th to appease the brain-eating hordes!). So I’m going to be happy with my lot and accept that although there’s nothing wrong with striving for excellence, it’s not the Holy Grail, and there’s nothing wrong with being just good at something.

Which brings me back to SL, because it’s no different inworld. I’m sure that many of us have tried our hand at most of the skills peculiar to SL: Creating content; entertainment; scripting; real estate management, and so on, only to find that we’re nowhere near as good as we’d like to be, and we certainly can’t even begin to compete with those who have real talent and skills in those areas.Whilst we may be critical of ourselves for failing to live up to our own expectations, that doesn’t mean we should beat ourselves up for it – not everyone can be an expert, even in SL. Sometimes we have to accept the virtual world for what it is, and our place in it is no different to that of the real world; sometimes we’ll find our niche and carve out an empire, but mostly we’ll get along just fine with the skills we learn on a day to day basis – and that’s really all that we need to do just fine.

And even if you are still walking into walls after 7 years practice… Just remember, you’re in good company!

s. x

I am the image maker. I am the magic
Maker. I can turn the most ordinary
Man in the world into a star.
The Kinks – Ordinary People

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