Over the years I have saved a large volume of inspirational articles, quotes and images. A quick search through my Evernote archive with tag “life” and “lessons” will reveal enough reading material to keep you occupied for a few weeks but there are two specific articles that I keep going back to.
The first one is an article named “Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much” posted on www.thoughtcatalogue.com by Becca Martin. The title pretty much sums up the theme of the article but the basic message is this:
You are the only limitation to your potential.
The message itself is nothing new but the tone and voice of the article just touched something in me.
I found the article very enlightening and even inspiring but alas, then I looked at the comments on the article.
I was very surprised at the aggressive backlash to the article. People were condemning her point of view, accusing her of being blinded by white privilege and only writing in the narrow minded comfort of being a trust fund baby. It was brutal. It was the modern day equivalent of peasants bearing torches and pitchforks breaking down the door to burn the witch.
I understand where some of these people are coming from. Some things are out of our control.
If you are born into poverty with very few opportunities in life or suffer with severe disability it is a bit obnoxious for someone to tell you just buy that ticket to go to Paris. Yet every time I read one of those comments I think of this joke:
That shouting angry mass of people are missing the point; her dreams are her own, that is her life and she is writing within the context of what she knows. I for one don’t have Paris on my bucket list.
Each one of us have something unique that is important to us and we need to create our goals within that context.
What you need to take from that article is that you are in control of what you can achieve. Life is not fair. Some people will get everything handed on a silver platter and for some the wind will always be from the front.
Your situation in life does not change the message of the article.
Only you can decide if you want to keep focusing on what you don’t have control over or focus that energy and time on what you can control.
Accidents, trauma, loss, financial ruin, missed opportunities, these things will happen and they will keep happening. These problems should be seen as obstacles, not excuses. An excuse gives you permission to fail and stagnate. An obstacle on the other hand present a challenge, something that can be overcome with perseverance, tenacity and sheer will.
Stephen Hawking is still writing books, one word at a time, using only one muscle in his cheek. If a man who can barely move a muscle in his body can still write bestselling books then surely the rest of us can at least attempt to overcome our own obstacles.
I have that article printed and pasted in my notebook and every so often I will stumble on it and just take a moment to read, to remind myself to look at my life and make sure I am not standing in my own way.