I can’t remember a time when I felt I was okay just as I am – at least, not without a few tweaks here and there. I’m guessing I’m not alone in thinking like that. We are who we are, but most of us aren’t particularly satisfied with that – and we let it hold us back.
We think we’ll be okay once we lose weight, or get a better job, find a partner, have a baby, get published, get famous, win lotto… The problem is, like getting cosmetic surgery, we’ll wake up and be looking at the world through the same eyes. And we’ll be looking for our next fix.
But what if we took a different approach? What if we said – hey, this is what I am. Now how can I work with that? And I’m talking about working with our flaws, instead of against them.
Because if all we focus on is the bad stuff – the things we’re not – the less we’re going to get out and give things a go. The less we’re going to put ourselves out there… until we’re all fixed and perfect.
Think about a civil engineering team who have the task of building a road from A to B. Except between those two points are a mountain, a river and a floodplain… and lots of other hard stuff to contend with.
What do they do? Do they say… oh, there’s a mountain there, and that floodplain isn’t great. Let’s not bother. No, they sit down and identify all the issues – the realities. Then they find a way to work within those parameters, and figure out what they can do differently or better so they get that road built.
And when it comes to who we are, I reckon we have to do the same thing. Work in our strengths. Work on our weaknesses. Not throw up our hands and say I’m just not good enough, or pretty enough, or funny enough, or fit / wealthy / intelligent / creative / tall / young enough…
So face your life like you’d face a project. Work out exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are. Then ask: how can I work with what I am to get where I want to be? And when you’re on the way, and your confidence is building, start working on your weaknesses.
Because if you wait until you’re ‘just right’, life will have whooshed past you – faster than you’ve ever imagined.
And hey, if we all put ourselves out there, we’ll be among friends, and that’s got to be a good thing.
Okay, I’d love to hang around chatting all day. But I’ve got project work to do!
ciao for now
P.S. Take a look at incredible paralympians like Chinese amputee He Junquan, cyclist Barbara Buchan, and so many others. And when you think you can’t do something, think about a man with no arms who became an elite swimmer… now that’s inspiring.
We are all a ‘work in progress’. This post was originally published in our blog, the art of moi, in 2009. And the project continues…