Beyond Experience

“Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
-Albert Einstein

How much we limit ourselves!!  before we have even tried something.   One of the topics that is often explored in counseling is our self concept, essentially how we see ourselves.  So many times, we develop ideas of who we are by the accomplishments or failures in our lives. 

One of the toughest things to hear is that people judge themselves by what their life experience has thus shown itself to be.  The problem is that we are all inherently limited by our own experiences.  I have yet to meet a person that has experienced everything that life can offer.  What we do though is take what we have experienced and generalize it to the whole.

The child that didn’t get a piece in the art show decides they are not artistic.  The student that doesn’t earn A's decides they are not intelligent. The girl who doesn’t get asked to the prom decides she is unlovable.

In my work with people with overeating disorders one of the common views is that they see themselves as not athletic.  When I ask what their experience has been with athletics they usually mention one or two team sports and running.  If they have deemed themselves unsuccessful at these, they have then concluded that they are not athletic.  That is a very limited view of athletic prowess and yet they have avoided physical activity because of not feeling they excelled during those few experiences.  When I asked if they have ever been hiking, or canoeing, or dancing or biking they usually admit they have never tried.

How often do we hold ourselves back from trying new things because we have already decided we would not be good or successful.    How much change could we create in our lives if we believed that we just haven’t found the right thing…yet?