Monday Motivator: Revisit Your Failures

Ken Robinson, in the book Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, notes that, as a child, he thought he wanted to be a famous pianist but then realized that all the really good pianists used both hands. So he moved on to something else. Seriously, he also points out that we often think we’re not good at something when we simply have no evidence to make such a judgment. He says that if we have never seen a living horse, then we have no way of knowing if we’d be good at riding one.

And sometimes, we assume that we’re bad at something when it might simply have been the learning conditions our first time through. For example, I have always assumed that I am bad at geometry, and this very well may be true. However, when I took the class in high school, I was taught by a former coach who enjoyed analyzing the Friday night game with the football players more than teaching class. (And the football players in my class were all good at math and could afford to lose class time in such discussions.) But from that year on, I started acting as if I were bad in math, and I sealed my own fate. (However, I still have fond memories of that teacher for the day that he was passing out papers and told the homecoming queen, “You might be Miss New Hope High, but you’re certainly not Miss Geometry!)

Maybe this is a good week to revisit all those things we’re so sure that we can’t do. Maybe we’ve never tried. (Two weeks ago, I canceled an handyman appointment and changed my front door locks. It took me two hours, several searches on YouTube, and a certain amount of swearing. But I can now get in and out of my front door.) Maybe we never had the opportunity. (Anyone want to join me for a year in France to try the immersion method of learning a language?) Or maybe we messed up the first time we tried. (The incident where I mistook baking soda for baking powder.)

So clear your mind of the things you think you’re bad at, and try one of them anew. You might be pleasantly surprised. 




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