You Ain’t Broke

While it is true that all humans are basically the same with different strengths and weaknesses, it can also seem true that people with seemingly less intelligence, creativity or talent can’t be successful or happy. Such reasons are quickly disqualified when we learn about a person like Naoki Higashida, a severely autistic boy who wrote a book that went on to be an international best seller at the age of thirteen. Naomi’s book explained what it’s like to be autistic from an autistic persons point of view. He now has two internationally successful books. I’ve seen other autistic people make good money and earn a living as artist. Then there’s Hirotada Ototake, born without arms and legs who became an activist for paraplegics in Japan: he also wrote an internationally successful book. Another paraplegic, Nick Vujicic, is a successful author and motivational speaker. And don’t forget Greta Thunberg the teenager with Aspergers who is a major force in the movement to save the planet.

So for those of us with less spectacular challenges here are some bits of advice. Don’t get too caught up in mistakes. Figure out, or admit, what you did wrong, and move on. Mistakes are usually errors due to inexperience, laziness or accident. If you purposefully screwed up, we’ll that’s an entirely different thing and another topic all together. Knowledgeable people make mistakes all the time simply because knowledge cannot always keep pace with the way life changes. When mistakes are made due to a lack of knowledge the experience gained from fixing the mistake becomes knowledge and wisdom. However even wisdom can become outdated or lose relevance when out in a different context. This is where principles can be more useful. Sound principles are strategies that give you a way to approach a dynamic or situation. A principle can be as simple as don’t give up or keep trying. Often people give up trying to solve a problem just before they were about to have a breakthrough and solve it.

Unfortunately the younger you are the less experienced and more likely you are to make mistakes. Some mistakes, like a speeding ticket, don’t have the lasting impact as getting into a major car wreck where you lose a limb or kill someone else. Choosing the wrong marriage partner, or significant other, are also difficult to recover from. Having a child is also a life long event.

All mistakes can be transformed into great gifts. – Darrell Harada

I know I’ve felt less than perfect with all the mistakes I’ve made in my life. I used to read all kinds of books to better my life and myself. One problem with the idea of self improvement is the point of view. If the point of view is to somehow transform yourself into a new and better model, like trading in an old car for a new one, well that’s just not possible. Such a goal is unrealistic and confuses your brain because you cannot become a different person. It is realistic to want to gain some skills, applicable knowledge, and experience with the aim of fulfilling the strengths, abilities and talents you were born with, or even transform the so called weaknesses you have into strengths like the way Naoki did in educating non-autistic people about autism.

Simply changing the idea of yourself from someone who needs fixing to someone who ain’t broke and doesn’t need fixing leads to the awareness that what you really need is to get to know and leverage your strengths. Then you can say: I could use, but don’t need, encouragement, support, and guidance to be fulfilled and successful.

It’s worth repeating that the idea that you are somehow broken and need fixing is an illusion. It is more accurate to say that you haven’t figured out what your strengths and talents are, and/or what it is you really want for yourself, to be fulfilled. Once you figure those things out you will set goals that make sense for you and then you will find your energy to be much easier to focus and apply. You won’t need motivation because you will simply be moved, almost pulled, by the goal or dream that suits you.

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