It was one of those heavy, sultry afternoons when nature seems to be saying to itself, ‘Now, shall I, or shall I not, scare the pants off these people with a hell of a thunderstorm? – P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Tie That Binds
I’ve had a few days away from the writing process and that may have been a good thing.
There’s a lot happening in the world right now – a virus, mass protests against racism, weird world leaders.
That is the “system”, always changing, always in flux, always being changed.
There is an argument that most of your results depend on the system – not on yourself.
I want to explore this idea in a few posts – see if there is something there that can help us.
It’s not your fault
Let’s start with looking at why you haven’t achieved your full potential.
The starting point is probably to realise that most people in the history of humanity probably didn’t have the opportunity to consider this issue at all.
You had people with power, people without power, and power regularly changed hands through force.
It’s hard to think of a single country or people that don’t have a history that includes oppressing others at some point.
Now, hopefully you don’t live in a country where there are fundamental limitations on what you can do with your life.
Those countries are still around, with their populations still under firm control.
But wherever you live, whatever your situation, you can probably point to things that are holding you back.
Things you can’t control but that limit what you can do.
The negative forces on your life
It’s probably quite easy to think about the things that are in your way.
It’s a little like experiencing bad weather – you can’t do anything about it but suffer through the effects.
What would it look like if you went through these in detail, perhaps using a weather metaphor to step through them?
What gets you down?
For example, what is it around you that gets you down – that makes you wonder what’s the point of working hard and doing your best?
Is it seeing others who are less qualified and skilled than you getting ahead faster?
Is it suffering from a disability that means it’s harder for you to do certain things?
What pushes you back?
What are the headwinds you’ve had to battle against, the things that push you back or off track just when you think you’re making progress?
Is it constant rejection, having your work sent back with no explanation of why it isn’t good enough?
Are you pigeonholed, stopped from doing anything more than your existing role?
What destroys your plans?
Is there something in your history that haunts your future – a criminal record or the wrong type of crowd?
Are you just unlucky, with your efforts failing again and again?
Or is it a lack of support from anyone around you, support that might have helped you succeed instead of failing?
Are you frozen in place?
Or are you in a situation where you are afraid to act, afraid for those around you and for yourself?
Maybe you’re frozen by your own beliefs, your fears that you will not be able to make it.
Or perhaps it’s more like being trapped in debt, where everything you make is not enough to pay off everything you owe, and the debt keeps creeping up.
Is your situation the problem?
If there are factors like these that are holding you back then that is a problem – a real one.
While these problems exist they will limit what you can do – limit your results.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try, how deeply you believe.
Your results depend on the system which, like the weather, is outside your control.
Or is it?
Your job is to make change happen
You cannot control the weather – it’s going to do what it wants regardless of how you feel.
When it rains you should go indoors or get an umbrella – or resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to get wet.
If you are an employee who is given a job to do – once again what happens is outside your control.
You can do the best job you possibly could but if the system is operating ineffectively that’s not going to make things much better.
It’s the job of the management to improve the system so that you can work more effectively.
As the manager of your own life it’s probably your job improve your own situation.
It’s very easy to look at the negatives, the things that don’t work.
In the next post let’s try and see if there is anything positive to find.