Years ago in a workshop each team was asked to line up, hold hands, and as a unit replicate the three knot diagrams from the Boy Scout handbook. I took one look at the page and said, “Oh, I hate this stuff. I’m not good at this spatial recognition thing.” Then I shrugged and we played the game. Thirty minutes later, our team had copied all three knots and we had done it before every other team. What made game memorable for me wasn’t that we won, it was the comment by one of my teammates.
“You realize, don’t you, Gage. You’re the reason we won. You solved every one of those knots.”
However, I hadn’t realized it. My self-image was so defined by what I thought I couldn’t do, that I had not been able to see what I could do, even while I was doing it. And, sadly, I’ve done this to myself in numerous ways over the years. I don’t know how many times I said, “but I’m not creative”. And then my husband said to me, “when someone comes to you with a problem, you come up with fifteen possible solutions, you’re one of the most creative people I know.” Once I got past that, I still said, but I can’t draw. My husband didn’t buy that either and once I got over my need to succeed, my fear of embarrassment, I found I could draw. (I still haven’t gotten over my fear of art class, I’m a work in progress.) But I can draw enough for my own enjoyment and really why would I need more than that?
As far as I can tell, we all do this. We all have something we think we can’t do though in many cases we haven’t tried to do it. We have a self-image that keeps us from understanding our own talents and potentials, sometimes it even keeps us from seeing what we can do as we do it.
Is there some way you’re limiting your own possibilities? Do you ever hear yourself saying, “But, I can’t” or “I don’t” or even, “I don’t like”? If you do, I suggest you stop and listen to yourself. It may be the cue to the next interesting activity in your life. Oh, and then, if/when, you hear yourself saying, “I’m no good at” do it anyway. You may be better than you think, but even if you aren’t any good at it and you have fun, who cares?
(And, yes, I drew these. They aren’t going to win any awards, but who cares, they were fun to do.)