Thursday, December 1, 2011

104) Learn Lessons - match aspirations with capability

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

A man was seen fishing. Every time he caught a big fish, he threw it back in the water. Each time he caught a small fish, he kept it. A puzzled onlooker asked him why he did what he was doing. The man blinked and replied: "I have only an eight inch frying pan. The big fish will not fit." It did not occur to him that he could cut the big fish to size. That is not the point. The lesson for us is that we match our aspirations with our capabilities. The fish to fit the pan.

Not every dancer can dance like Michael Jackson. Not every sprinter can match Usain Bolt. Not every boxer can do an Ali. Not every singer can sing like Jim Reeves or Connie Francis. Not every poet can be another John Milton. Each can operate within limits; within the capability he or she has. It is important to realize this. Often we chase wild dreams, hoping to conquer heights we cannot climb. We envy those who excel at what we cannot. We live dissipated lives, because we will not come to terms with our limited skills. We could aim at the stars to hit at least the tree tops. That is fine, as long as we are realistic. When we learn to match our ambitions with our ability, our children will learn from us and not spend wasted days dreaming of things they cannot do. If my son is a straggler in class, no amount of my persuasion will push him to the top. He could improve his performance, but not above his capability. He should not become a depressed young fellow, because I keep goading him to achieve something that is clearly out of limits for him. It is better to heed the advice of Theodore Roosevelt and be content - not letting up on efforts, but moderating aspirations.

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