I currently work for a manufacturing company on an assembly line. It’s physically demanding, but also pretty emotionally demanding. If you have ever seen the I Love Lucy episode where she is on an assembly line, the physical chaos she portrays is much like the emotional struggle to keep up with the line. Any mistake is quickly compounded, and it takes a lot of focus and practice to do what you have to do there.
Recently they put me on a new job. It has about 12 or 13 steps and it took every micro-second allowed for me to eventually master the process. It took about 6 hours of training before I could partially be left alone. The problem was that there was no room for error, and I wasn’t getting faster. So, when I even slightly mishandled a part, I would instantly be behind. This seemed to compound itself and someone would have to come help me every so often.
After about 6 hours, they moved me over to another much easier station. I felt like a failure and assumed I wasn’t going back to the job. I generally hope I will do well, and I not only want to perform adequately, I want to be among the best – I want to be seen and heard. These are not necessarily bad goals, but sometimes we have to admit what we don’t want to admit – we can’t do some things.
The next day, they moved me back to the job and I was still just barely keeping up. In about a half hour, they brought another older guy over and offloaded a part of my job to him. We have been doing it this way ever since. It really works out pretty well, but I have to admit I couldn’t measure up. Granted, the people I am comparing myself to are veterans and a 19 year-old superstar.
In this age of positive affirmations and such, I hope we don’t forget that it’s okay that we can’t do everything we aspire to do. There are only so many spots at the top and we may be desiring something that really isn’t the best fit for us. I think about this sometimes when I am trying to promote things on social media. Do I really want the attention? Can I really do this? Is it the right thing for me?
Religion sometimes promotes the idea that we can get everything we want if our faith is good enough, or we jump through the right hoops. Depending on how we interpret verses, we might believe that we can have or be anything if we just proceed according to directions. The problem, of course, is the directions are complicated and arguable, and our wishes don’t always come true which only leads to a different kind of frustration and trauma.
It’s okay to admit we cannot do everything we want to do.
Sometimes, we need to try and fail. Sometimes we need to admit that failing at something was still a learning experience. Hopefully, we revel just as much in our shortcomings as we do in our “victories.” And sometimes, it’s okay not to do something because we use our better judgement.
I wish you well on your journey and that you remember to:
Be where you are, be who you are, be at peace.