A creative job allows for a more loose approach to the assignments you receive, but as someone who can’t distinguish a 2 from an 8, I’ve discovered that it is generally frowned upon to be too ‘inventive’ when filling in your tax returns. That same nuance applies to the topic I was thinking about this week: Our limitations vs. How we limit ourselves in what we want to do.
Trapped In The World Wide Web
Many of the conversations I had with people this week were about this exact issue. Most of them happened online, because I live in the middle of nowhere and for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, my house isn’t filled with strangers wanting to talk to me. But that is why we have the great interwebs!
One person I talked to wanted to publish his own boardgame. But he was adamant it was never going to hit the stores. His family’s history, he said, was filled with the brutalities of slavery and poverty. As such, he was sure that he would never be able to raise enough money to produce his game. Now, this man had a well-paying job. And he was aware that there are other ways of collecting money. Crowdfunding for instance. But he couldn’t see them as solutions, because his family’s history had colored his worldview in such a way that he was chained to the past as well.
Other people I talked to were dealing with similar shackles. There was someone who was still dreaming of the course her parents hadn’t allowed her to take, even though she was in her thirties now. One person gave up on becoming an artist after they were diagnosed with a chronic illness. That diagnosis had paralyzed her. It was the idea of being ill, rather than feeling ill that stopped her trying to see where her personal boundaries were.
Is There A Law of Repulsion, I Wonder?
By the end of the week I felt deflated. All of these people had given up on something that was important to them, not because they came across their own limitations, but because they created obstacles in their mind.
The truth is that we are more capable than we take ourselves credit for. And often there are fears that keep us from taking control of our lives; perhaps even the fear of losing the dream we have in the first place.
Does this mean that all those self-help books that teach the ‘Law of Attraction’ are right? No. In my opinion, the only thing The Secret attracts, is the garbage bin. We still have limitations after all. If you don’t have limbs, a positive attitude isn’t going to grow them back. Limbs are notoriously impervious to chipper mindsets, the cynical bastards. Which is why the balancing-act is so important.
The Art of Being Professionally Unhelpful
My government went the exact oposite direction. In an effort to get sick people to work again, they launched the slogan: “Don’t think about what you can’t do, but what you can.” At first glance, this sounds really enabling, right? A real can-do attitude. Let’s go get a job, sir! The issue was in the implementation. They used the phrase: “Just try harder” a little too often and ignored people’s disabilities. Which let to ridiculous job offers. Like giving a post as a crane operator to a woman with severe rheumathism who could barely walk. But hey! Climbing isn’t walking, so don’t think about what you can’t do…
The statement “just try harder” doesn’t work when you’ve reached your limits. And when it comes to health, only you are able to feel when you have reached them. Nobody else. So, if you feel like one of your limbs is about to fall off, you might have gone a bit overboard and the only possitive attitude that is going to help you there, is the one that allows you to slow down.
Says the woman who is currently dragging two arms and a leg behind her. But who is counting? It’s a
great precarious balancing act, after all.