I loved reading James Clear’s book: Atomic Habits ( https://amzn.to/3bRugZU).
The following words from his newsletter (https://jamesclear.com/3-2-1/may-20-2021?rh_ref=f87ac1ed) resonated deeply in me.
“How many times have I said these things?
I’m sorry but I just don’t have:
– not enough time
– not enough money
– not enough knowledge
– not the right connections
…were just ways to avoid the real bottleneck: Not enough courage.
There was always a small step I could have taken—if I had the guts to take it.” James Clear
When you are short of courage, even the smallest bits, there’s an antidote for this condition – something you might never consider: share the courage you do have.
Instead of turning away from something or someone who needs more of us that we think we can give, take a moment and listen more deeply. This applies as much to oters as it does to ourselves.
Listen to yourself and wonder what is making you move away. Listen for what is possible and what someone might not be seeing about what is possible for them. Inquire of yourself what is causing fear?
Next, remember the courage you have had in the past. Courage that many others might not have shown in similar circumstances.
A friend called me the other night to tell me about a ridiculous circumstance where one of her kids was told he probably wouldn’t graduate because he hadn’t handed in some of his work.
After many questions, it turned out that there was only one assignment and the completion of that was negotiated. Throughout the whole situation, this boy whether intentionally or unintentionally was treated as being purposefully lacking in responsibility. Because the educators present had been good learners in school environments, they never considered how difficult it might be for a child who was on a different learning curve. A child who had feelings of frustration, felt he was stupid, and maybe even worthless. It’s hard to hold your head up when you feel like this.
Her son did an exit interview with his learning support teacher as a final assignment that focused on his experience at his high school. He expressed all of his doubts and frustrations with himself and his difficulty in learning at school. The one thing that saved him was getting into an auto repair program- not everyone at that school was asleep. Reading it, his mother cried.
Most of his teachers never stopped to see that he was a child who learned with his hands, it never occurred to them that success is getting the A to some but can have many different meanings to others. It never entered their heads that it might be a good idea to help this young man find his gifts and for them to find ways to appreciate them although they were different than their own. They stepped away from all of the possibilities for a life well-lived and chose, instead to default to criticism noticing everything he lacked.
Many years ago, PBS (www.pbs.org) made a film called How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop (found on https://youtu.be/Q3UNdbxk3xsnow)– F.A.T. stood for frustration, anxiety and tension caused by the existence of different learning styles.
They filled a classroom with teachers, counselors, reading specialists, and other educational professionals. They were given a lesson to do but the materials that they worked on were made to look like they looked to children with learning disabilities. After a very short time, many of these participants were in tears. For the first time, they started to realize how difficult it is to be in a class when you learn differently than the others.
Today, when you find yourself telling someone you don’t have enough time, or money, or knowledge or connections, maybe you could listen a little longer. Maybe you could share the courage you have today with someone who might need to borrow a little for the time being. You aren’t committing to a lifetime of support – really just a few extra minutes – your choice.
Each of us has the chance to make an immense impact on other lives every single day. When you choose to believe this, you find courage you didn’t know you had, your awareness grows and things take on a more brilliant hue.