Speaking About Ourselves

I'd bet $10 (high-roller am I!) you've heard someone say one of these things in the last few weeks: 

I'm terrible with names. 

I don't have a creative bone in my body. 

I can't do directions to save my life. 

I'm no good at staying in touch. 

I'd bet $100 that not one of these things is fundamentally true about the person who said them.

I think what happens is that if something doesn't come naturally to us, we can start to say these things. Then they become true because we tell them to ourselves and others. 

And if we say something enough, we can start to act as such.

There's another side to this, too: we can exempt ourselves from trying.

Because it's safer to say, "I'm terrible with names," than it is to risk calling someone Sasha when her name might be Sandra. It's safer to make no art than risk making art that doesn't look like what we imagined, or what others might like. 

But to think it's safer is a fallacy. It's quite dangerous to tell ourselves we are terrible at staying in touch or portrait painting because we cut our chance for growth off at the knees.

It's choosing the false safety of stagnancy over the courage of transformation. 

The grand thing is, though, we can choose to be better at names, directions, whatever it is. We won't be flawless; there will be Teds we will call Tom. But we will be in the arena, not watching from the sidelines. 

And I'd bet $1 million that this absurdly dazzling life we each get handed wasn't designed to be a spectator sport. 

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