Baby Boomers: The “So What?” Factor
Many times a person will allow their challenges or shortcomings to keep them from succeeding or enjoying a truly fulfilling life. We have the choice to allow ourselves what we want or not. The following article shows us how to overcome using excuses to avoid going after whatever our heart desires.
The “So What?” Factor – By Timothy J. Morris
If it is truth you seek, you have come to the right place. I am about to let you in on a vital secret that will revolutionize your way of seeing yourself and the world around you if only you can grasp it and apply it. First, though, let me ask you to use your imagination. In your mind, go to the break room of any modern company. Or, if that’s not where you are, it could also be a school cafeteria or a family kitchen or anywhere else people may gather and talk to one another. Are you there? Can you hear the people talking? Here is what some of them might be saying.
You will hear people grumbling and complaining and making excuses for why they can’t ever seem to get anywhere in business or their personal lives. They’ll say things like, “I had a bad childhood.” My parents didn’t believe in me.” “I didn’t finish my education.” “I’m too fat (or too thin, or too tall, or too short, etc.).” “I’m getting old and I can’t see or hear very well anymore.” “I never learned how to spell words correctly.” “I’m poor in math.” “I’m too sick. I can’t learn.” Does any of this sound familiar?
Maybe you’ve heard the ever popular, “The boss doesn’t like me.” “I never get a break.” “Joe (or Sally or Bill or Whoever) always gets the good assignments.” “I have worked here for years and never gotten what I deserve.” I just never get the breaks that guy does.” “I’m just going to quit, and then they’ll be sorry.” Don’t these excuses sound childish like the classic one from our school days, “The dog ate my homework.”?
So, truth seekers, here is the first nugget you can carry away from this, and it may startle some of you. Before you dismiss all of the statements you have just read as the excuses of a bunch of whining cry-babies, many times the person who is saying them is only stating facts.
You see, it is often true that others get something you think you deserve more, and it is true that other people have an advantage that you don’t now have. It is also true that all of us have limitations of one kind or another. It may be some kind of physical problem, or it may be the social or economic standing we were born into. It may be that your parents did not treat you right as a child. Moreover, it’s true that there are times that you really are better than the guy who got the promotion or the plum assignment. Here, then, is the second nugget of horrible, naked truth. Life just isn’t fair – deal with it!
That’s the situation. Everyone has some kind of handicap, limitation, or challenge, and some of them are very serious. The question is not do you have one, but what do you do about it? As I see it, there are two or three possibilities.
First, the most common response is to make excuses for whatever it is that limits you. By doing this you are saying that your problem is someone else’s fault or at least out of your control. However, if you do that, you are defeated before you start. You are saying that your limitation defines you. You are it and it is you. If you think like that, you’re done for. No success can come your way as long as you believe this.
Second, you can deny it. “People are just making this up about me. I don’t have a problem; everybody else does.” This kind of thinking has a fatal flaw. Thinking like that puts you in an arrogant position that is not sustainable because denying that your hardship, insecurities or challenges are real is the same thing as denying that your arm or leg is real because the challenges are just as much a part of you as an arm or leg or any other part of your body. So, if you can’t deny your limitation, and you can’t make excuses for it, what can you do?
There is an alternative. Do you remember that I mentioned a vital secret that I would tell you about? Here it is. I call it the “So What” Factor. I’ll illustrate what I mean in this short speech. Say to yourself, “Yes I know. You’re right. I am _____________. (Fill in the blank with whatever your challenge, handicap, insecurity, hang up, or whatever is.) I’m not going to deny it. That’s just who I am. But, you know, so what? I’m not going to let that control me or define me anymore. It’s a part of me, but so what? It’s not all I am. There are a lot of things I can do very well. I am going to major on those things and use them to succeed, and if someone doesn’t like me that way, it’s their problem, not mine.”
Testimonial time: This is a lesson I had to learn myself. Before I could find any success in life or in business, this is the place I had to come to. Like many others, I have physical and developmental challenges. When I was a child, I had a stroke, and it affected all the rest of my life. For a long time I used it as an excuse, but finally, I had to say “So what?” and go on. I can’t describe the difference that has made, and I promise you that if you can get to that place and start living life in that kind of reality, it will be truly liberating and a life changing experience. Now you know the secret. Do you have problems, issues, insecurities? So what? That’s not all there is to you. Use what you have left to succeed anyway. That is the way to a free and fulfilling life.
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