Thursday, January 5, 2012

I can't?

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As a child I was fortunate enough to have parents who told me that I was not only able to do anything I wanted but that I could do everything I wanted. I say fortunate because it's quite nice but also rare to be told from an early age that the world is full of opportunities.

From a different perspective this could also be seen as a bit of a curse depending on your personality. As it happens I am the sort of person who has a voracious appetite for knowledge. I love to learn and what interested me may seem quite broad and even unrelated. In fact, a lot of what interests me is unrelated, but I don't really care because if I want to learn something I will.

Sometimes I find myself filled with a desire to do everything all at once. It's almost as if I feel this incredible to do list of wants, desires and interests and I feel as though I must complete it all in the next week or I'll never have a chance to do it again.

The result is a sort of paralysis which causes me to accomplish absolutely nothing, during which time I am inclined to wallow in a lot of self pity because 'I can't' do everything. I know it's silly and my next step is generally to feel quite angry with myself for being childish, whingey or unreasonable.

All of this is hugely unproductive and also apt to turn into a vicious circle of self loathing and angst unless I take action.

The trick is to change the way I'm thinking about it. Rather than going 'I can't' I need to think, "What if I could?" and then "How would I be able to?" This opens up my options again and also reminds me that everything I want to accomplish in my entire lifetime doesn't have to get done right now. If that was even possible it would be quite unfortunate because, quite simply, what would I do then?

I have my entire lifetime to do all those things on my list of 'everything I ever want to do in my whole life' and that list is flexible. I might change my mind about something on there so I'm allowed to take stuff off as well as adding things to it.

It's all about choice. When you think you can't do something you've just taken a lot of options away. So remember to keep your options open by trying out 'what if I can?'

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