Don’t Let What You Don’t Know Today Limit Your Dreams For Tomorrow

Female hands slicing the lettuce. The concept of cooking healthy food

I’m trying to get back to eating healthy after months of not. One way to do that is, for when it’s my turn to cook, make a healthy meal for my family. Now, I don’t cook a lot and I have some pretty standard things that I turn to, and most are less than healthy so I need to learn some new recipes. I can find some on cooking sites online, in one of the many cook books that we have, or I can experiment and hope for the best. The point is, I’ll need to learn some new things. 

Eating healthier is important for a lot of reasons, and cooking healthy meals for my family is good for me and them, but I could have told myself, “you don’t know how to cook more than a few things so this whole cooking healthy meals for your family thing just isn’t happening.” I could have limited my goals / intentions / dreams (or whatever else you want to call them) to things I already know how to do, but why should I limit myself like that.

In his most recent book, You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life, Neil Pasricha talks about your “ambitions exceeding abilities” (I’ll give a quick review of the book at the end of this post). This is when, like I described above, you have a goal, but you don’t have the skills and knowledge to achieve it yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking the steps to learn what you need to learn. 

There are some things you can’t change, but lots of things that you can. I’m five foot five so I was never going to play in the NBA (thankfully that was never a dream of mine), but I learned to make layups in high school, and then taught my daughter.

A guy I know, Dean, wanted to learn to play guitar so he taught himself  by watching videos online.  I wanted to start a blog so I learned how to use WordPress. 

If you have a goal and don’t know how to do any or all aspects of it, find a way to learn, whether through formal (taking a class or program) or informal (watch some videos, read, experiment) methods. Don’t let your current knowledge of something stop you from moving toward making a dream happen.

A Quick Review of You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life.

As promised earlier in the post, here’s my quick review of the book. First, I was initially turned off by the title because I kept picturing Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live (“You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You”), but then I heard an interview with Pasricha and decided to read it anyway, which I’m glad I did. 

Pasricha is both funny and smart, and those characteristics come through in the book. It was both an easy and interesting read, in which Pasricha provides nine “secrets” (with research and sources to back them up) to help readers live up to the book’s subtitle. They are:

1. Add a Dot-Dot-Dot – If you haven’t achieved something, failed at something, feel stuck, had to recover from a serious illness etc.  it’s probably not the end. You just haven’t gotten to where you want to yet. Think of ellipses instead of periods.

2. Shift the Spotlight – No, everybody is not watching everything you do to see you screw up. Get some perspective. Also, so you failed at something. That doesn’t make you a failure.

3. See It as a Step – You’ve probably heard that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Well if you trip, get back up, clean yourself off, and take some more steps. Learn from what went wrong and do it differently next time.

4. Tell Yourself a Different Story – This is one of my favourites. When something is bothering you (your actions, outside events, etc.), ask yourself these three questions 1) Will this matter on my deathbed? Can I do something about this? Is this a story I’m telling myself?

5. Lost More to Win More – People who have amazing achievements usually have far more failures. 

6. Reveal to Heal – Another favourite of mine, this is about the importance of talking about our failures and struggles.

7. Find Small Ponds – It’s easier to build your confidence and chance of success if you start as a big fish in a small pond and move on from there.

8. Go Untouchable – I became a big believer in blocking time well ahead of time to get work done, even when I don’t yet know what I’ll be working on. Pasricha explains why and how this has been a big part of his own success.

9. Never, Never, Stop – This includes some wonderful stories about his father to wrap the book up with “you can do this” and “don’t make things harder than they need to be” messages.

If you’re looking for something entertaining, inspiring, and smart to read, I’d recommend You Are Awesome.

Featured image courtesy of Marco Verch under a CC-BY license.

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