When I was in my early twenties I decided the following:
1) That I was going to win a Grammy
2) I was going to win an Oscar
3) I was going to be Mr Olympia
Not only had I decided on those three things, I determined that they would be within the SAME YEAR! Nothing like setting your goals high, right?
Of course, we are all cocky when we are teenagers, thinking that we know everything, we have been gifted with knowledge and foresight that no-one else has and that we WILL NOT FAIL. Anyone that detracts from our dreams or tries to give us a reality check is ignored, or worse.
If only I had understood and appreciated my own limitations at that age. But not only my limitations, but my gifts. How different would my life had been?
Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret doing the whole rock star thing, but it took me a helluva long time to realising the aspects of it that I was good at and the bits I should leave to others. In hindsight, I could have fast-tracked that career and achieved a lot more in a lot less time. But hindsight is always 20-20.
In the back of my mind, when making those wild statements, I knew I was lying. I was lying to those that listened and to myself. At that young age, I blame the ego. We need egos when we are young as they do motivate and propel us to do the improbable and seemingly impossible. But the people that do achieve those things do so partly through that drive, but mainly because they had the right tools, or talent to get there.
I do not have the talent to win an Oscar for acting. I can do a passable impersonation of someone that looks and sounds a lot like me, but that is all. I certainly never had the genetic gifts needed to get anywhere in bodybuilding, let alone the higher echelons thereof. The Grammy would be the only one I could have had a shot at, but I would have had to have worked a lot harder and smarter at a younger age to make the kinds of inroads you need to make a huge impact on the music business. As it was, my band only ever became a tiny fish in a big pond.
We are asked at a young age “what do you want to do when you grow up?”. How the hell are you supposed to know that? At 45, I feel barely grown up and I still don’t have a clue what I want to do. One minute, I would love to write screenplays. The next direct movies. Then write and perform comedy. Become some kind of self-help guru. Write books. Start businesses. Explore the limitations of the mind. Explore the limitations of the body. Explore my limitations.
It is e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g being me at times. I see someone do something and think, “that looks like fun” then I think, “they are just a person like me, so I can do that” and, next thing I know, I am Doing That. To be honest, I despaired about this character trait-slash-flaw for the longest time, until I discovered the world of the multipotentialite. In short, us multipotentialites never become an expert in any field, but become very adept in any field, can turn their hands to most things and learn an awful lot on the way. Where most people want to understand a particular field and become proficient in it 100%, we get to 90% and think, “yeah, I know enough now”.
Understanding my limitations is helping me fine-tune my life. Accepting the fact that I will not win a Grammy, Oscar or Olympia trophy is absolutely fine. My ego no longer constantly screams out “LOOK AT HOW SPECIAL I AM” and, although I like any talents I have to be recognised and appreciated, it isn’t a problem if they are not.
So if you find yourself struggling within a career or university course or anything else, ask yourself if you are actually right for that thing you are trying to do. Standing up to yourself is important. You no longer waste time, causing yourself anguish and, in many cases, despair. You accept and move on.
We all have great talents and we all have the potential for greatness. You just have to determine what that is, decide if you can be arsed to do what it takes to achieve it and then either move to one side to let those others Go For It or to give it your best shot. Being honest with yourself is tough but it is also a vital step to happiness. Failure is no fun but it is inevitible, so give yourself the best chance at success by doing something you are actually cut out for.