davidd (davidd) wrote,

I Could Do Anything: Exercise #2

Exercise #2 in Barbara Sher's I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was is called Their Impossible Dream:
Draw a picture of a person who would incorporate every last thing your family wanted from you. Use cutouts from magazines for extra fun, and then put their "perfect child" on the wall where you can see her (or him). blah blah blah... Admit it: it's impossible.
Yeah, well, maybe such things were impossible twenty-five years ago when this book was written, says the woman who went from being a single mother with three kids to an internationally recognized motivational speaker with several best-selling books to her credit, who hosts success seminars in Corfu, and who has a second home in central Turkey where she helps local weavers market their wares via the internet... yeah, this chick is telling us that living up to extreme expectations is impossible, so why even bother to try, right?The kind of person my friends, family, and even myself expected me to become is right there on the cover of the current issue of Outside Magazine. Big city investment banker, made his money, got tired of being a Wall Street type, and became a an elite triathlon coach. And shirtless cover model on Outside Magazine. Impossible? Obviously not, that guy did it.

The current issue of the magazine is full of stories of people made of awesomeness, including a teacher who, after two years in the classroom, decided teaching wasn't her thing and opened a running shoe store instead. A few years later, she and her husband have eight stores, and she travels the world as a professionally sponsored triathlete. Plus, of course, she's hawt.

Can you understand, at least on some level, why I feel I'm a disappointment to myself, whether or not I am to my family or friends or anyone else? The kind of person I feel I should have become is possible. The "success stories" of these über-people are waved in our faces all the time, every time there's a TV commercial for beer or cars on TV, in fact; from every magazine cover, every internet news feed, every online advertising sidebar... and in every "self-help" book. Wild, astonishing, amazing success across multiple disciplines simultaneously is possible, even commonplace, but I haven't achieved it. I haven't achieved much of anything... comparatively speaking.

Granted, I could add "cover model" to my résumé, even if it's only an internet article rather than the cover of Outside Magazine. Whatever; my point is, Exercise #2 is kind of lame, and rather than having the intended effect ("Admit it, it's impossible. What they want can't be done. So leave that picture up there where it can remind you, and let's get moving."), it serves to remind me that what I shoulda-coulda been should have happened, because other people do it all the time.

It's gonna take forever to get through this book if there's another exercise like this every couple of pages.

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