Confession: I’m Ashamed of This

We’ve had an unresolved bug floating around for the past few months.  Last week, an affected Client asked me to intervene.

At least half a dozen smart people have tried to nail it down, and while we’ve made some progress, it’s certainly not closed from the Client’s perspective (nor mine).  It continues to hang around.

It irks me that we haven’t been able to put the sucker to rest.

Yesterday, I’ve asked one of our team members to own the problem.  As we sat down to discuss next steps, I felt compelled to share the following:

  1. I begin endeavors with the belief that if there’s a will, there’s a way.  I shared this because I wanted to make sure he believed it was possible to solve the problem.   (If you think something is impossible, it most likely will be…)
  2. I am driven towards taking on challenges others have failed to solve.  If someone tells me a task is impossible, something ignites inside me, and I go berserk as I set my mind to the problem.  In the case of this bug, I could feel my switch turning on.

I’m OK with #1.

What I think is unhealthy about #2 is why I feel compelled to take on the challenge: I do it not only to address the issue, but to show the other person that I can (and implicitly, that they couldn’t).

I confess that solving a challenge others have failed at feeds my ego.

Don’t get me wrong: at times, this trait has come in handy (when it is channeled in a productive way).  But I’m worried that this feeling reflects something darker about my personality … something icky I’m not proud of.

Question: Is this behavior unhealthy? Why or why not?  Why do we sometimes feel the need to show our superiority over others?  Leave me your thoughts in the comments.

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