“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength” – Marcus Aurelius
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Or so the saying goes. And I, for one, agree. The adage stands true; however, not for the reason most would consider.
I will tell you something most will never claim or brag about: I am not a “natural” at anything. The fact is, I need to bust my ass to just be decent or maybe “good”. I have to fight to be strong, or as strong as I can be. Nothing in this form has come easy to me. I’ve waged war with resistance time and time again. Sometimes I’ve won and other times I’ve lost.
Every inch was gained by a continuous barrage of action. I’ve found and researched the best ways to improve, to get strong, and to learn. I’ve read countless books and driven my head into the proverbial barriers. With this came a vast understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Many paths attempted, some leading to progress and others to failure
Head, Meet Glass Ceiling
As a father, it is up to us to prepare our kids for the times they “can’t” in order to appreciate the times they “can”. The lessons we have learned in failure serve to teach them about the path to progress. Learning new information and techniques to overcome barriers is the crucial element in breaking through that glass ceiling. It’s not always and maybe rarely is an easy road; however, our kids need to know it and embrace it. They must understand and internalize resilience. In order for them to learn from us we must lead by example and personify that resilience.
Getting strong takes work, the grind, pushing past and moving forward, regardless of what resistance may tell us. Many times we find the weight is too heavy, the challenge to steep and our bodies not prepared; but, in the times we “can’t” we learn what is needed moreso than in the times we “can”.
You can become defeated by the glass ceiling, the barrier between you and progress. It’s easy to blame others or a certain situation. You may become angry at those who don’t have to grind away. Those who may stroll right into the spot you’ve been fighting for or who have the strength you want. But the easy path is rarely appreciated. Don’t blame the “natural” for not taking action yourself. Sometimes the one you think is “a natural” has been grinding away, just like you. Maybe, they have just been doing it longer or working harder.
Those Who Can’t, Teach
The great teacher lies in the depths of those who have clawed their way to success. Those who have trained, failed, and maybe have been fortunate enough to get a small taste of victory. The tools acquired in these moments are the elements that make a great teacher, father or mentor. Lessons learned in failure are the lessons which lead to progress. What you “can’t” do will always teach you more about yourself than what you “can” do. What we “can” do is comfortable—and that will stop your progress fast.
For all that it’s worth, I would never want the road of “the natural”or the easy path. I would never have developed my drive, my thick skin, and my desire to help the underdog. “Everything earned”, it’s the motto of my life. I hope now to be the voice of the weak and weary. It’s what I am a natural at.