“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
What have you ruled out? Yup, that’s the question. Unfortunately, we tend to do this all the way through life. Me too. At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ll never be a Major League relief pitcher or an NFL running back. The aspirations that carry physical limitations are easy cross off the list. I remember when I was a kid, I was messing around with some kind of science kit my Dad bought me. It had a door bell you could build (I mean, what better to annoy the whole family than having a door bell buzzer you could carry around?) Anyway, I couldn’t get the thing to work and my Dad noticed my frustration. He said to me “what would have happened if Edison had given up?” to which I replied wryly “Edison didn’t have instructions.”
I only remember this because a: he laughed until he cried and b: He sent the quip off to some humor magazine that ended up printing it. That’s not the point really, I think I ended up ruling out being an inventor as a result of my glaring inability to take disparate low voltage materials and make them into something I could irritate my sisters with.
Unfortunately, we tend to do this all the way through life. We rule things out because of small defeats, instead of using all we HAVE succeeded at and learned to get focused on how those things prepared us to do what we want to now. I have had the good fortune to have: performed in a Broadway musical, ridden a horse at a full gallop, skied moguls at Jackson Hole with Olympic trials going on next to me, went all in and opened a successful business, had a marriage for 25 years, given CPR to a person and saved them, given CPR to a dog that didn’t make it, raised three kids, ridden motorcycles in the desert, learned to play the guitar and the piano, written a weekly blog and much much more.
Take a look at what you’ve done and then take a look at what’s still out there that you want to learn and accomplish. A lot of what I listed sounds fun, but in reality was a ton of hard work. Getting to Broadway, opening a business even riding a horse equals hard work not just put in over night. I’ve had my failures sure. The dog comes immediately to mind, but realistically, I don’t think after getting run over by a car that was going 50mph, we were going to see a positive outcome.
Here’s the thing, I will not make the NFL at this point nor do I any longer have the desire to get my face kicked in, but If I trained like crazy I could be a Triathlete in the senior division. I could practice 4 hours a day and in 10 years become a concert pianist. I could be a race car driver, motivational speaker, author or helicopter pilot. I could get an MBA, start more companies or become a pastry chef. It’s all right there for the taking if I don’t rule it out.
Here’s the question: what are you ruling out? What do you really want to do and think it’s too late or you’re too old or short or not good with math. What are the little defeats of the past that have you sitting on the sidelines? Don’t edit your imagination, feed it, stoke the fires of your curiosity and learn some new skills that interest you.
Hey out there, you woke up today! This world is big and if you’re reading this, you’re on the internet which means you have access to all of the combined knowledge of human history. Use it. Change the world, as in YOUR world. You are only limited by the limitations you put on yourself.
“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.” ~ Thomas Huxley