“My parents told me I’m special.”
“I got 30 Valentine’s Day cards this year, one from each of my classmates.”
“I have 30 more minutes to play outside before going home to finish my homework!”
Oh, the things we thought about as children. Looking back on these thoughts, they seem a bit ridiculous, don’t they?
They are a bit ridiculous — because they are lies.
As we grew up, everyone around us fed us beautiful and inspirational lines of uplifting protection. Our parents, our teachers, the movies we watched, the songs we listened to. They all had the very best intentions, but they all told us lies just the same.
This may seem a harsh judgement, but it’s something I’ve come to realize in my own life as I try to “succeed” in the “real world”, many light-years past that protected childhood. In the here and now, some of those well-intentioned lessons have come back to bite me in the backside. I know I’m not the only one.
So, what are these lies you’ve been told?
Below, I’ll share a few of the lies we may have been told and how we can turn them around to work for us, instead of against us.
1. We all love you.
One thing’s for sure: our parents definitely love us, but that doesn’t mean everyone will.
Some clients, some colleagues, some random people on the street will dislike us for reasons unknown.
If we think that we’re supposed to be loved by everyone, how will we be able to handle it when we encounter someone who doesn’t?
When I first started my business, I thought working with people would be all sunny days and rainbows. Almost two years in, I know that’s just not the case. I wasn’t aware how difficult it would be to deal with the reality that some people didn’t have my best interests at heart.
It hurt, but it also presented incredible opportunity.
Since then, I’ve learned to be more picky about who I work with, to pivot to work with people that I feel connected with and valued by.
Our parents may have been wrong — not everyone will love us — but we can choose to surround ourselves with people who do.
2. You can be anything you want to be.
This is the golden ticket of a hopeful future, which is the first wish for any parent out there.
As we grow up, we dream of being kindergarten teachers, firefighters, and more. Those dreams change, and we continually come up with new professions or projects we’d love to pursue.
What our parents told us leads us to believe that we can go after any of them and get the same result.
The truth is that we’re probably better at one type of project than another. Yes, we can learn and adapt and find success if we put in the time, but we also have a better shot at excelling at some things more than others.
Our parents weren’t telling us that we could be anything we want to be. They were telling us that we can succeed at anything we want.
It may be true that, literally, you can try anything you want, but it’s not true that you will succeed at everything, right?
3. To be smart, all you need to do is study.
This is directly related to the lie above.
From the time we’re about four or five years old, we start an education process that lasts for another twenty years, depending on the career path.
Education is a critical part of our formation, but it’s not the only critical part.
Studying is important, but so is learning by doing.
Centuries ago, apprenticeships were the preferred method of learning a new craft. Under an experienced tutor, an apprentice will not only study the craft, but will also practice it.
Due to the education factory we’ve gone through since our childhood, we’re predisposed to take this “study first” approach to our projects. Is there a way to introduce the “learning by doing” approach, as well?
Learning The Truth — Your Action Plan
Our parents have all the best intentions in the world, but there are some tweaks to the narrative they’ve taught us that could turn our lives around.
My advice? Forget the lies you’ve been told, and start building upon the truth to build your future.
I’d love to hear from you:
Are there ways to surpass the lies in our present?
How can we turn these into opportunities?
Have these lies helped us in some way?
I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments.
Current research shows that some of the most commonly used and seemingly positive phrases we use with kids are actually quite destructive. 5 Things To Stop Saying to Your Kids and What to Say InsteadFeatured photo credit: Steve Slater (Wildlife Encounters)via Flickr