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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

You Are Perfectly Suited To Be Yourself

I don't know if you have noticed, but most of our dilemmas begin with some type of ignorance or deception. Have you ever been told that if you set your mind to it you could achieve anything? That’s a lie. For a long time, I believed it. This is the lie that creates the great psychological fault line in the development of young men and women in our society. And once the fault line is there, it’s only a matter of time before the earthquake. Looking back on my childhood, I have identified one consistent and repetitive untruth that I was told. My brothers were misled in the same way, as were my friends. The people who told us this lie thought they were helping us. They wanted only to encourage us. On the surface, it seemed like the good and noble thing to do, but the damage that was being done was below the surface. The lie has several versions: “You can do anything you set your mind to” and “You can be whatever you want to be as long as you work harder than anyone else” and “You can have anything if you want it bad enough.” At first I was young, and young people tend to believe people who are older and have some kind of authority over them—parents, teachers, coaches, older brothers and sisters, even babysitters. So at first I believed the lie. I set my mind to things and failed. I wanted things badly and failed. And with these failures came feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing, feelings that as a young man I was too proud to talk to anyone about, so I could only bounce them around inside myself without any hope of figuring them out. In the years since, I have seen this same phenomenon in my brothers and friends, and now I see it in the young people I work with in high schools and colleges. They apply themselves with all the strength of their will and the focus of desire, and they come up short. Self-doubt begins to plague them. They review the steps they took. They seem sure that they “set their mind to it” as they had been encouraged to do. They did the best they could, but still they failed. They followed those golden maxims set out for them by their teachers, parents, coaches, mentors, professors, and employers... and still they fell short. Sometimes we fail at things because we are simply not well suited to them. But we are seldom told such things when we are young, and our minds are like sponges. People keep telling us that we can do anything if we set our minds to it. These maxims are so absolute and so often reinforced that when we follow them and fail, we are left with only one conclusion: There must be something wrong with me. Here begins the great wrestle with self-doubt, insecurity, inadequacy, and self-loathing. Many of us struggle with these feelings our whole lives, consciously or subconsciously. Most of us struggle with them semiconsciously. We know that they are there, that they are affecting us, but we don’t know what to do with them or about them. These feelings affect our relationships, the way we progress professionally, the way we manage our time, the way we plan for the future, and the way we dream or don’t dream. If the lie is that you can do anything you set your mind to, then what is the truth? Some would say cynically, “You can’t do anything you set your mind to.” But they too would be wrong. The truth is this: We are capable of extraordinary things, but each of us is different. Our unique abilities make us better suited for some things than for others. What does that mean to you? It means that you can’t do any- thing you set your mind to and that that doesn’t make you bad or deficient—just human. It is finding the things that you are better suited for that is one of the great adventures of this life and the source of a great deal of happiness. You cannot do anything you set your mind to. If you are four feet tall, you are not well suited to become the next legendary basketball player. But you are still perfectly suited to be yourself. The real question is this: What are you well suited to achieve and become? Matthew Kelly From Perfectly Yourself Click Here to get your copy

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