I saw a discussion on a forum over the weekend in which one person was saying they were bad at something, and others were telling them to get better at it.
To which the first person said, “Well, tell me how to do that, because I’m bad at it.”
What stood out to me in that exchange was that the first person was not only taking it for granted that they were bad at what they were talking about, but they seemed to also be taking it for granted that being bad at it was something they couldn’t change. At least not without someone else telling them how to change it.
Making a change in your life isn’t always easy, but if you say or think something that implies you *can’t* change, you’re closing a lot of doors. And you’re negating your own ability to control your life, especially if you’re expecting other people to tell you how to make the change.
I encouraged the person on the forum to change the way they thought about the situation. Instead of saying “I’m bad at this,” I suggested they try saying, “This is hard for me, but I’m learning and I can get better at it.” The first one puts the focus on the person and makes it sound as though there’s no way to change it, whereas the second one puts the focus on the difficulty of the situation as well as on the power that the person *does* have to change.
When you’re struggling with something, sometimes it isn’t easy to see a way to get past it. Sometimes we forget that we can control our own lives–not other people, but how we respond to those people, to setbacks, etc.–and that we can make changes, even if it seems impossible. There are always choices, even if we don’t like them.
So if you’re having a hard time with something, stop and take a look at how you’re thinking about it. And if you’re standing in your own way, see if you can change those thoughts.