Never accept a negative label…

plodding donkey

OK so I recently read this post by Mummy Tries and I wanted to comment but, you know, do you ever read a blog post and feel that your comment would be inappropriate without a prolonged explanation? Well that’s how I felt. So instead I thought I’d just mention it here.

(Just as a precursor to these thoughts I should mention the fact that I come at this perspective from the point of view of a deep thinker who loves words and language and loves to analyze and deconstruct meaning. I studied literature at degree level and that included literary theory which encompasses the writer perspective and the reader perspective for pinpointing meaning so I am well aware that this is only my take on what was written).

The post argues that most people fall into one of two categories which are called ‘doers’ or ‘plodders’. There is a very balanced argument which says positive things about both categories (and, in fact, this is primarily a post about being inspired by others), but I can’t help but be a bit dismayed by the terminology. ‘Doer’ to me, has very positive connotations, yet ‘Plodder’ has quite negative ones. ‘Doer’ says: ‘get up and go; ‘energy’; ‘creativity’; ‘can do attitude’. ‘Plodder’ says: ‘drab’; ‘lumbering’; ‘uninspired’. Even Wikipedia points out that “Plod or P.C.Plod is a British slang term used to refer to a police officer, particularly one slow-witted or dull”.

I think the heart of my dismay lies in the feeling that, certainly lately, I would probably fall into the ‘Plodder’ category as I feel that I am generally reading or observing the creative and inspired projects of others yet not finding the time or energy to jump into the fray and come alive with projects of my own. At the same time I feel it’s a bit unfair that someone may now label me a ‘plodder’. I was trained in journalism (a long time ago!) so I know how useful labels can be in rounding out a written article and summarising contained ideas (and I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say I never do it myself). Look at parenting – nowadays we have ‘Helicopter Parents’, ‘Snowplough Parents’, ‘Attachment Parenting’, etc, etc. But really, as a human being it would be nigh on impossible to fall within such a rigid and defined category on an ongoing basis without ever doing something completely contrary (even to a deeply felt and consciously crafted way of life).

I was out Christmas shopping today (which I loved!) and a quick glance around Lakeland got me quite excited about what I could be doing for Christmas next year. Home-crafted gifts are a fab idea and definitely include a big dollop of love which bought presents don’t have. I love the idea of pressies in jars (and have a good friend who sells Christmas cookie mix in a jar and mulling syrup in a lovely glass bottle – both of which I will be sampling!). Its also a great way to keep it natural and (maybe even slightly) reduce your carbon footprint… I just discovered this page which shows some absolutely adorable ways to use Kilner jars. (I’m particularly loving the idea of brandied cherries or cocktail syrup which can be used as the base to create Mojitos, Margaritas and Mint Juleps as well as home-made sweeties, snow globes and pot pourri).

I’ll also be Elf on the Shelfing next year (EJ will be going on 2 and a half), and it is my intention to learn how to create some home-made bunting and cushion covers as well as some little crochet projects like flowers, handbag charms or something like this adorable fox stash basket:

crochet fox

I have no idea whether I’ll be any good at any of these things but I think I would enjoy doing them.

I may feel like I have very little energy or time right now, but I know that organisation and planning ahead are key to being productive and timely (especially with regards gifts) and that is my goal for 2014.

Sometimes you can be a dreamer and a planner and a thinker and even a writer, but anyone who is content to be classified as a plodder must be someone with very limited horizons (in my honest and humble opinion!).

12 thoughts on “Never accept a negative label…

  1. Ah you are so a Doer then!! I have lots and lots of ideas but often never get round to them so maybe i’m a little bit of a plodder?! You can’t do everything though can you.
    LOVE the fox basket 🙂

  2. I am not so sure about either label! Doer to me connotes Do-Gooder. Doing without thinking. Doing to conform. That type of behaviour has its problems too.

    I think I’ve done projects where we were asked to categorise ourselves as Originators or Finishers. Maybe the same thing? I used to think of myself as a not very good Finisher. But now I realise I was a frustrated Originator all along. Sometimes we don’t know ourselves as well as we think!

  3. I know a lot of people who genuinely do not feel like this. Plodding isn’t a negative label, it’s just a way to describe the way they operate. I went on a course a few years ago, and the trainer said that in the main people display characteristics similar to animals. There were 5 or 6, ranging from the lion to the elephant, and the gist was similar to my friends’ plodder/doer scale. We need the elephants just as much as the lions…

    I used to describe myself as a lion. I’d throw myself into the line of fire at every opportunity if I felt I’d benefit in some way (financially, career wise, etc) but would often get seriously burnt. I had a devil may care attitude then, life was about having fun and trying to ‘be someone’. Nowadays I’m much more risk averse, and prefer a drama-free existence. Life revolves around my kids & hubby, and for me it’s perfectly fine to say that I sit somewhere in the middle of the plodder/doer scale.

    Of course some folk just don’t like labels, and they can cause problems in themselves.

    The fox basket is gorgeous! Also I can recommend Elf On The Shelf for next year. It took a few days for us, but the girls are into the concept now and really enjoyed seeing her in a different spot this morning 🙂

    • I can see that the whole animal thing would be a fun bit of nonsense to liven up a business course but in reality we are not like animals – lions are not ‘risk takers’ any more than deer are ‘risk-averse’ – they just act on instinct and do what they need to do to survive. As human beings we think and choose and change and adapt.

      Its not that I don’t like labels, more just pointing out that most labels serve the purpose of the labeller and not the labelled.

      Its funny how Denise and I come at the word ‘Doer’ from a completely different viewpoint which just goes to show that meaning is in the eye of the beholder. I think maybe instead of doers (which we all are to some extent) and plodders, you are really talking about risk takers/ high achievers and then the rest of us!

      • To be completely honest, I think you’ve been looking for a hidden meaning behind my words, and there isn’t one to be found.

  4. I’ve always totally hated labels, whether it’s on grown-ups or more particularly on our kids! It’s so damaging and inhibitive and sometimes can take lifetimes to eradicate. Let’s just always remain ‘uncategorised’ or ‘changeable’! 🙂

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