It’s nice that visionaries developed the new ways of animation that brought us from King Kong to Jurassic Park. Our lives would not be the same if someone had not developed the computer chip, and the idea of the personal computer had not become a pervasive reality. But only a few of us are Steven Spielberg or Steven Jobs or Bill Gates.
Repeatedly, I made the assumption that an idea had to be completely new and original to have validity. There was no merit in redundancy. Then, I rethought that idea. And this was marvelously freeing.
Training in an unrelated area taught me that no system should have a single point of failure; that is, incapacitating one component should not cause the whole system to fail. Extending that to any area implies that having a backup may mean the difference between failure and success. Just as repetition creates a pattern (without repetition of a component or a number of components, there is no pattern), restating an idea may make the difference between understanding a concept or having it remain an amorphous cloud.
Good teachers know that. Expressing a concept one way may mean nothing to a particular student. It may be only by the repetition of that idea in a number of different ways that an idea may be comprehended. Each person may require the message in a different format. Some hear the idea, some read it; others have to actually do something physically to learn it.
That was perhaps my gift. I could not be the next Edison, inventing a light bulb. Or Einstein developing his theory of relativity. Maybe I’m not Stephen Hawking, creating a theory of the universe spoken through a voice synthesizer.
What did these individuals have that I didn’t?
1) Perseverance? I could do that.
2) A willingness to believe in oneself despite perceived failure? In spite of what society wanted to tell me? I had to think beyond history and reframe my experience. Maybe failures just meant I hadn’t succeeded. . .yet.
3) Ability to look beyond any handicap and use the underlying human capability to think? I already did that…
In reality, we don’t think of Edison as a failure for all the filaments that failed. Likewise, we don’t think of him as a failure because he didn’t develop the theory of relativity. Einstein is a success, not because he did badly in school, but almost because of it and what he did afterward. We don’t perceive of him as a failure because he didn’t invent the phonograph. And this is critical!
Too often, we criticize ourselves for what we cannot do, instead of recognizing and celebrating ourselves for what we can do. By filling our minds with our failures, we limit the development of our own capabilities, what we can do. We think of ourselves as less than, burying ourselves in an approved mantle of guilt.
We do not even believe that we can achieve something. And if we do not believe it ourselves:
1) How can we ever achieve it?
2) Who do we expect will propel us into believing it?
3) Who do we expect to energize us to do it?
Perhaps it is easier to think we can do nothing about a given situation than to work at changing it. If we excel, we are out of the ordinary, discounted for our success. The term “overnight success” does not recognize the hours, or even years, of required practice, nor does it acknowledge the failures and rejections the individual had to overcome.
When I work with résumé clients, I tell them they have to believe they can do the job before they can convince the person they are interviewing.
In what way are your beliefs holding you back?
Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.