Accurate Assessment of Capacity

May 24 2021

I always thought that trying hard was everything. Having a big vision, never giving up, and believing in yourself. Believing that, someday, things would all work out, or you would reach your goal. But there is something in there, that slips through the cracks of those concepts. Something that is not sexy, and might even be somewhat heretical in the self-development world: It is just as important to have a gauge of your own capacity.

A video I saw this morning, about the “stalking for love” trope, is a little different, but I feel a similar vibe, that I was taught by Hollywood that persistence was everything. Well, it’s not.

What I wrote this morning, as I was waking up, was this:

Without the ability to accurately gauge what you’re actually capable of accomplishing, you might be constantly failing, in spite of massive motivation. This is differrent from having a capacity to manage your limitations, or be positive, or “shoot for the moon,” etc.

Like the movie tropes about never giving up in the face of romantic rejection, these ideas taught me never to give up, but did not teach me how to succeed, either. Nobody did.

And the trouble is, no teaching about persistence would necessarily handle this one.

Yes, you must account for your limiting beliefs, and those can be tremendous. On the other hand, even if you have a technology for handling your limiting beliefs, are you really going to handle them all today? Maybe. Maybe not. Depending on their scope, it may or may not be very likely. Now, I perfectly well understand that every time I posit a probability for anything—including how likely it is to be able to handle limiting beliefs—I am setting up a reality field that will influence the likelihood of such a thing happening, or not happening. But—and I suppose this is the point—without a reasonable assessment of what I am capable of, I can make no reasonable predictions.

I thought that beating at the walls of possibility with an eternal determination was the secret to overcoming obstacles. But now, I am not so sure.

Part of me is eternally determined, and part of me just doesn’t care.

Part of me just wants to have an easy time, and I am not sure if that part of me is wrong, or bad, or needs to be corrected.

Part of me just wants to have fun.

Part of me likes life as it is.

In fact, the greater part of me does like life as it is, but just wanted more playmates, and didn’t understand why there were so few playmates here in this world. I heard about a Native American family on a reservation in This American Life last night. They were a large extended family and a lot of the family would just come over and hang out all day, and come in and out. That sounds wonderful to me. That sounds heavenly. I cannot understand why my isolated, suburbinated, WASP life is so terribly isolated. It feels terribly alone. It is the rules. It is the sanction.

And then, there is money. You are supposed to make more and more and more and more and more … until you die.

I guess I got a little off track here. When I think about this I can get a little lost. Anyway, the great majority of people fail to do something interesting because they don’t stretch. But on the other hand, if you stretch too far in your mental space, but don’t use that imagination to build actionable capacity, you may end up being a victim of your own imagination.

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© Alexander Feller 2018