Labels and Tinkering

By some function of being a left-brain dominated person, I feel the need to associate labels to everything. We, as a society, do similar things. People are often categorized by where they live, their accent, their job, their hobbies, their diet choices, their friend group, their schooling choices, places that they’ve been, hometowns, and music choices. Perhaps this makes it easier for us to keep track of peoples’ likes and dislikes, but I propose that it hinders our development. If we feel like we can only subscribe to the predetermined limitations of a position or calling, there’s no room for experimentation – no room for growth. Just because you went to school to be a businessperson, does not mean that you are incapable of being a painter. Similarly, growing up in South, does not prohibit you from living in Sweden. There’s no reason that a Christian female, who happens to be a musician hailing from California cannot befriend a Buddhist, computer programmer male from New Zealand. This can also be applied to careers and cross-functional “jack-of-all-trade” type people, but for the sake of brevity, I will stop digressing…

My point is this: The journey through life should be one of self experience. Experience will, in turn, lend itself to self-exploration, and with that, self-efficacy. I seem to encounter far too many people (I’m often one of them) who think that they’ve made certain decisions that they are locked into those decisions indefinitely. Unless the first thing that comes to your mind when reading that is a marriage, mortgage, or children, chances are quite good that you can change your mind about whatever it is that you’re thinking about. (Even the aforementioned responsibilities may be skirted, though I don’t recommend doing it.) However, if there’s something that you want to do, then go do it! It will either be a catastrophic failure, a huge success, or somewhere in between. But no matter what, it will be an enriching and learning experience. To quote Henry Ford,

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

There’s an effect called the Pygmalion Effect, named after Pygmalion, of Greek mythology. In a nutshell, it states that the greater the expectations placed on someone, the better that they perform. There is some controversy on how to properly conduct this study, but on the whole, I agree with it. It is similar to the myth that a goldfish will only grow to the size of the bowl that it is placed in. There’s nothing that I know of that says that these expectations need to be placed on a person by other people. Why not an internal motivation? 

My final assertion is this: We all need to put greater expectations on ourselves. If we believe that we can, then we will. John Wooden or Alan Lakein (contention over original source) once said:

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

So does the corollary hold true for success? “Succeeding to plan is planning to succeed” has a nice ring to it. I think that I’m going to run with it. I encourage you to do the same. After all, Dr. Seuss once said:Image


– A.


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