Beauty in limitations

I’ll never dunk on LeBron James. I’ll never be a programmer at Google. I’ll never be an astronaut.

The reason I won’t accomplish these three scenarios has nothing to do with not being interested. I like basketball–I especially loved it when I was younger. I would’ve loved to play in the N.B.A. The problem is that my own physical limitations make it impossible to dunk on LeBron. (Unless he lets me jump off his back.)

I’m fascinated by programming. Coding is really, really fun–but I’ll never have the expertise nor the mathematical prowess to be a programmer at the same level as a Google employee.

The same goes for being an astronaut. Walking on the moon would be great, but having the ability to become an astronaut? Forget it.

There’s no shame in not being able to do everything. There’s actually beauty that can be found in limitations. Limitations constrain, but they also funnel. Think of a garden hose. The water flowing through it is not going to be spraying all over the yard, but it will have a direct effect on the portion of the lawn on which it lands.

Same with limitations. I won’t be able to dunk on King James. I won’t work at Google as a programmer. I won’t walk on the moon. Check. Check. Check. And a check for all the other things I won’t be able to accomplish in this lifetime. OK, good, now I’ll focus on the things I can do well. I’ll look for the one-foot bars.

There are times when we should let go of some goals in order to apply more force toward things at which we’re really good. Let the limitations guide us so we’re funneled toward what we’re meant to do. Embrace the constraints.

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