Does Your Personal Experience Mean Others Can Do It Too?

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  1. profile image0
    Sophia Angeliqueposted 11 years ago

    One of the common arguments I see is that because someone else did something, everybody else was able to do it as well.

    So, if one person was able to win the world championship for boxing, that means everybody can do it, and the only reason they can't is because they're lazy, stupid, and didn't want to do it.

    If one person can be a major baseball star, then everybody can do it, and if they can't do it, then it's because they're lazy, stupid, and just didn't want to do it - even if they're a dwarf.

    If a woman can get Brad Pitt for her boyfriend, then every woman can, and if she doesn't, it's just because she's lazy, stupid, and just didn't want Brad Pitt for a boyfriend.

    And if one person can discover the theory of relativity, then every person is capable of discovering a new world shattering theory every day, and if they don't, it's just because they're lazy, stupid, and don't want to do it.

    Of course, DNA will tell you that some people are born beautiful to draw any man, have brains enough (intelligence is repeatedly shown to be 100% genetic, and intelligence is different to education) to be a Crick, Watson, or Einstein, that height has a lot to do with being successful at baseball, and that muscalature strength has a lot to winnjing a boxing championship (technique is learnt, strength is inborn).

    So what do you think?

    1. livewithrichard profile image73
      livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I never see or hear that argument and for those that try to make it I would say they are incredibly naive.  I do however see the opposite of that argument.  "I can't run a 5k, I smoke too much," "I can't afford health care insurance, not with my cable and internet costing so much," "I'll never lose weight, I'm addicted to junk food," "I can't go back to school, I'm too old" "I can't start a business, there's just too much competition."
      I think the "I can't" people of this world outnumber the "I can" people a thousandfold.

      1. profile image0
        Sophia Angeliqueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        LivewithRichard. I wanted some time to think about what you said before I responded.

        I'm one of those people that is always being told, "Of course, you can do it!" At this point, when people tell me that, I completely lose it.

        Here's some examples of the outcomes of being told that.

        In 2006, I went to see a career counselor. I needed to chose between geology and interior design. I started with interior design and the counselor told me I would have to draw. I immediately knew I couldn't do it. At 55 years of age, I think I know where my talents lie. I said, "Thank you, I can't draw." I was going to go and see the geology professor.

        The counselor immediately said, "Of course, you can. They'll teach you."

        "Are you sure?" I asked.

        "Oh, absolutely."

        I was a bit doubtful because I've always known that talent is inherent but I was new to America and thought that maybe they knew something I didn't. In addition, because I have an auditory processing disability, I cannot process information fast in the moment and am easily influenced in real time when I  haven't made a decision beforehand.

        So I stayed while she explained to me that I could easily do it.

        I never did get to see the geology professor.

        Here's what happened. I thought that it would only be the first course that I would be drawing. I spent the next two years with virtually every single class being one of learning to draw something or other. I hated it with every bone of me. I hated everything about it. At that point, i couldn't change courses because I had been given so much wrong information that my grant was running out and I needed to finish.

        Also, I'm an INTJ. Only one in 100 people are INTJs. And only one in a hundred INTJs are women. The interesting thing about INTJS is that, of all the types, they know what they can do and what they can't do. If they tell you that they can do something, objective scientific testing shows that they can, and if they can't do something, then they genuinely can't.

        So here's my question to you.

        How do you know that someone who says they can't do something can't?

        Yes, sure someone may spend money on junk food and they want to get slim. However, have you noticed that it's only the very rich in society that remain thin?

        Coming from another country, I can tell you that the food in this country is designed to make anyone obese and fat. I check everything I buy. These days, the cottage cheese at Trader Joes has Starch in it. The meat has broth in it. I would die of starvation in this country (unless I had about $2000 a month to spend on nutritious high quality food) unless I compromised and ate what was available.

        i was shocked when I came to the USA and found out how expensive food was here. In London, at the time, I could buy an organic chicken for $1.50. Here it cost $6 (2003)/.

        So it's not as simple as you think. And I want to ask you again, "How do you know what someone can do and can't do? And why don't you respect the fact that someone says they can't do something?

        1. livewithrichard profile image73
          livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Because I was born and raised right here in the USA with a 'can do' attitude.  Most American's I know were raised with the same attitude. We are raised with the belief that disabilities, physical or mental, are obstacles that can be overcome with desire and passion.  This idea is completely imbedded in my psyche.  Maybe it was the area where I was raised, right here in Chicago.  I was born the same year as the very first Special Olympics, consequently started by a Chicago physical education teacher.

          It's the same idea that draws so many immigrants to this country.  It's the foundation of the American Dream and the very quality I pass on in my lineage. 

          You ask why I don't 'respect,' well that's because respect is earned and not a given; not where I come from.  The "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" is a myth that has been shattered by so many Americans especially in the last decade or so where the advances of technology have made some of the 'old way' of doing things obsolete. No, I don't accept the 'I can't' excuse. 

          You ask "have you noticed that it's only the very rich in society that remain thin?"  I find that a ridiculously flawed observation.  Those that want to be fit go out and do the work that requires them to be fit regardless of their financial station in society.  Those that are obese that want to do something but do nothing have a mental disorder that they too can overcome. Ever watch The Biggest Loser? It comes down to choices, I can't, I can, I won't, I will.

          This is an American perspective and I'm sorry if this offends you, but it's the only perspective that concerns me.  This may sound harsh but the limitations of people living in other countries have no real bearing on my life other than the taxes that are taken from me and given as aid to foreigners.

          1. profile image0
            Sophia Angeliqueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Live with Richard. I am an Afrikaaner. We have a saying "'n boer maak 'n plan.' A loose translation is 'McGyver makes a plan."

            Now I'm going to tell you a story about your 'can do American.' It's a true one and it happened a few years ago to an ex-boyfriend of mine who immigrated to Australia from South Africa.

            He was in Houston for a conference with the American company he worked for in Australia. There were about 1/3 South Africans, 1/3 Aussies, and 1/3 Americans.

            The seminars started at 7 each morning and the bus left at 6.20 am. They all duly arrived. When they got into the bus and the bus driver (an American) told them the bus wasn't going anywhere as the front tire had a puncture. He was waiting for someone to come and fix it up.

            Well, at .6.30 am, the Aussies and the South Africans conferred because nobody else was doing anything. They knew if they waited much longer they would be late.

            So my friend got up and went to the driver and said, "We don't care if you just sit and watch. We're going to change your tire for you. Ten minutes later, the tire was on."

            The driver was amazed and said, "Where did you learn to do that?" The reply from both Aussies and South Africans was "A wheel is a wheel."

            So here's the thing. Along with my fellow South Africans and Aussies, we come from a frontier society. We are specialists in everything because there are very few people in our countries and so we all have to become specialists at half a dozen things.

            Where you get the idea that your society is a can do society, I don't know. Those Americans certainly didn't.

            And you might like to google 'n boer maak 'n plan.'

            1. livewithrichard profile image73
              livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              And with your attitude and complete hatred of American's, you never will.  You are one of those "I can't" people though you want to share in the pride of your fellow countrymen that "CAN."  You want to live in this country but not assimilate, that's fine, if you are a citizen then that is your right. But don't come whining to us because you allow your "I can't" attitude to limit you.

              I'm not going to Google your little phrase, it mean nothing to me.  However, the McGyver I know, was an American.

              1. profile image0
                Sophia Angeliqueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                livewithrichard, I'm sorry you feel that way. You've got me 100% wrong. I've just explained the real issue to RebekahELLE. Essentially, I've tried to understand the arrogance of those who think that people who are struggling have no one but themselves to blame as well as the idea that Americans are somehow superior to other people in the world. I, quite honestly, can see no difference.

                If I've used myself as an example, it is only so that you can't turn around and say what you've just said, 'that I don't try.' You see, I can't get my head around that either.

                As for your not being willing to look up the phrase, 'n boer maak 'n plan,' that's exactly it. If you made the effort, you would see that the attitude you speak about as being unique to America actually isn't. It's just as rife in many other areas of thew world.

                Why does all this matter to me?

                Because I feel as if I'm living in a country where a high number of people are completely out of touch with reality.

                1. livewithrichard profile image73
                  livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  Can't you see how contradictory your words are? You say us American's have this superiority complex and in the same breathe you say we're not living in reality.  That comes off as a superior attitude.
                  For most Americans, the Americans you describe as struggling, their reality is what they see on their evening news, in their grocery stores, during their 15 minute work breaks (if they're lucky to be working).  They see their reality when they open their refrigerators, or when they have to take their change jars to the bank so they have gas money for the week.  Their reality is not on the other side of the ocean (unless you think about their loved ones that are in war zones fighting for a people that will never appreciate their sacrifice.

                  Your attitude about the GOP comes from a flawed understanding or one that is probably skewed to the far Right.  I'm not a Republican but a lot of my family and many of my friends are.  They're not a bunch of ogres or devoid of a conscious or compassion.  They just don't believe the Government has a right to redistribute wealth or provide financial remuneration to those who refuse to work for it.  Further, most Republican agree there needs to be a 'safety net' for the less fortunate but they also believe the less fortunate would be better served by the private sector.  They agree that Federal money can go to faith based and charitable organizations but there also needs to be limitations to prevent abuse.  Nobody should be able to spend their entire life on welfare.

            2. Repairguy47 profile image61
              Repairguy47posted 11 years agoin reply to this

              We Americans always have South Africans and Australians change our tires, its in the constitution.

              1. Praetor profile image60
                Praetorposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                Okay, I'll admit it... that one made me laugh.

                1. Chris Neal profile image80
                  Chris Nealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  That one is funny.

            3. kathleenkat profile image86
              kathleenkatposted 11 years agoin reply to this


              I saw this post quoted, and I just had to find it to say that it is insulting to me. I was born and raised in the States, and quite frankly, I've known how to change a tire since I was a little kid.

              Some Americans don't know how to change tires, and that's fine. Many people don't own cars, and don't ever drive. A lot of people who live in cities take the bus and train, or walk. There is a reason behind the saying that it's dumb to own a car in NYC.

              Why should someone know how to change a tire if they don't have a car?

              Now about Australia and South Africa. I have never been to either of those countries, but as you say, there are less people there. Less people=more spread out=more reason to own a car. Perhaps that is why more South Africans know how to change tires.

              I might know how to change a tire, because I have always lived in the country, where cars were needed to get around.

              Please think first before making blanket statements about an entire country. We are all different, and come from different backgrounds. It is insulting to me, as an American, for you to state that we are not a can-do society. We ARE a can-do society; it is taught, and drilled into children's heads, that we 'can do' anything we put our minds to (well, of course we know that's not all true, but you certainly CAN'T do ANYTHING if you DON'T put your mind to it.)

              Edit: And about this thread, "Does Your Personal Experience Mean Others Can Do It Too?"

              You keep saying how your personal experience in America sucked; that your career advisor gave you bad advice, and that you wasted time and money...Overall, your experience in America sucked. Why, then, do you believe it sucks for everyone else?

              You said, something along the lines of "1 in 100 people have [forgot name of disorder], and 1 in 100 women have [forgot name of disorder]." Okay? That means you are a very small percentage, and it is likely that this "Flawed American career advisor" gave you advice that works for the vast majority of people.

              If our system(s) didn't work for the majority of people, then they wouldn't exist.

              1. Aficionada profile image81
                Aficionadaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                There's a different aspect to the story of the bus driver that I haven't seen mentioned yet. It's altogether possible that union regulations, or even just his contract, stipulated the specific aspects of the job that he was allowed to do (if he wanted to keep his job), and perhaps a certified mechanic was required for any type of maintenance work.  I understand that this possibility may not be remotely applicable in this case (although it would be in many, many cases - research the story of the Boy Scout who wanted to pick up trash in Central Park (?) as a service project), but that was not clear from the story as told here.

          2. kathleenkat profile image86
            kathleenkatposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            You don't know what someone can and cannot do, unless they attempt to do that thing (or its obvious, like a paraplegic can't walk).

            That applies to ourselves, too. At the very best, we have a very good guess (perhaps based on past experiences or similar activities) of what we can, or cannot, do.

            When I was learning to drive, I thought that learning to drive standard transmission was absolutely impossible for me. I had no coordination (I sucked at playing ball, and other such things that required coordination). I would be sorely surprised, if I could have seen myself driving a stick 10, 5, or even 1 year into the future after that.

      2. profile image0
        RobSchneiderposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I think the crux of the problem is asking someone else if you can or can't do something. If you're dependent on the opinions of others, you're not likely to have the initiative to take on a challenge alone or find the right mentors to guide you. You'll end up spending your money on self help gurus to temporarily boost your confidence instead of spending it on getting the training you need.

        Much as I get annoyed with pithy self-help quotes, I like the oft repeated one attributed to Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." Sometimes, though, you think you can't realistically. I think I can't win a marathon, for example. If a sports coach told me I could if I paid him X dollars, I'd call him a huckster. No amount of money is going to give a 65 year old man with a gimpy leg what it takes to compete against a young athlete.

      3. Chris Neal profile image80
        Chris Nealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I'll never be as good-looking or charismatic as Brad Pitt (which is actually good because I don't like Angelina Jolie.)

        I'll never be as smart as Einstein.

        But that's not what the argument means. If you look at most of the 'successful' people in history, most of them aren't any smarter or luckier than anybody else. They simply applied themselves day after day.

        It's a combination of two great quotes about success: "Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration," and "80 percent of success is just showing up."

    2. aka-dj profile image65
      aka-djposted 11 years ago

      Not everyone will be able to do exactly what someone else does, but there are many common things we can all do.

      After all, not everyone wants to do what some do.

      It's important to find what you want to do, and do it well. be trained by someone doing what you want to do, and be a good student/apprentice.

    3. WriteAngled profile image75
      WriteAngledposted 11 years ago

      I don't consider a person hooking someone for sex as an achievement worth discussing, so I'll leave out the Brad Pitt girlfriend part - I've never heard of Brad Pitt so do not even know who this person is and how desirable or otherwise it might be as a sex partner.

      In terms of true achievements, whether in fields of intellectual endeavour, sports records, commercial successes and so on, I don't think there is a level playing field by any means.

      In part, this is due to genetic factors, which affect physical and intellectual characteristics. A thicko with an IQ of 100 will not be the next Einstein regardless of anything else! On the other hand, with a bit of luck and native intuition, he or she could easily become a successful company owner.

      The second factor is upbringing, whether a child is encouraged to have ambition and given the chance to develop his or her best traits. If a potential marathon champion is forced by parents to concentrate on learning the violin instead of running, despite being tone deaf, they may never be able to discover that marathon potential;

      Thirdly, of course are social circumstances. A child deprived of education, a person forced to direct all their ingenuity and intelligence into sheer survival, will not be able to achieve what they may have achieved in other circumstances.

      1. profile image0
        Sophia Angeliqueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        WriteAngled. Very well put. I'd go along with that. smile

    4. rebekahELLE profile image88
      rebekahELLEposted 11 years ago

      I think this thread is sad. Sophia, from numerous threads you've posted on, you seem to project an air that implies that all Americans are less in some way. 
      It will make no difference what anyone says.  I don't know where you live or your life situation here in the US, but you have some things wrong.  Because of your mindset, it will remain so. 

      I don't believe in labels.  I don't think anything can confine us other than our own limitations.  The longer we allow them to make connections in our brains, the longer they will continue to limit our experiences.  I think humans have extraordinary capacities and abilities but if we've set up a roadblock that says I can't do this, then it won't happen.  If you really wanted to draw, you could.  It might take a lot of concentration and instruction and more patience than you want to give it, but certainly the capacity is there.  What defines us is our actions, our accomplishments, our strengths and even our weaknesses.  But it's not necessarily who we are.  We're much more than what we do or say or think, our will to succeed enables us to take action and do what we think we can't.

      1. profile image0
        Sophia Angeliqueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        RebekahELLE, you've misunderstood something.

        What I cannot get my head around in this culture is the GOP view that the fault of poor people or of anyone that is struggling is entirely to blame for their failure, and that everybody in this country has been taught that they can do it, and therefore, if they can't, it's all their own fault.

        What is coming across to me, RebekahELLE, consistently, are two thoughts. The first is that everybody who is poor and struggling, regardless of effort, has no one but themselves to blame. And when this is half of the population, I find that unbelievable.  The second thought that consistently comes across is that there is something particularly superior about American people, and with all due respect, that here, as in all the countries of the world, there are some financially successful people and some not so successful people, some nice people, nice jerks, some hurt people, some happy people. This country is no different to other countries.

        Essentially, my posts are written to try to understand why it is that so many people in this country condemn people who struggle and why so many think that they're superior to people in other countries (ironically the ones that have least traveled have the most to say).

        I apologize if I've worded myself badly, but those are the real issues.

        1. Mom Kat profile image78
          Mom Katposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I am standing and clapping for you right now!  You worded yourself perfectly!

        2. profile image0
          Emile Rposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I agree that we need to show more compassion for our fellow humans who are struggling, whether they be American or not. We, in America, are mostly one tragedy away from destitution. Most of us are wage slaves only a few months ahead of our bills.

          However, you don't appear to have a firm grasp of the intricate nature of American politics. Pity. I hope, if you still live in this country and are registered to vote, that you will do some research on the different ideologies and how their guidance has affected our economy and our communities over the years.

        3. rebekahELLE profile image88
          rebekahELLEposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Sophia, thanks for the reply.  There is no need for any apologies.  Your post does help to understand more where you're coming from.

          I can't get my head around some of the political stereotypes also, but I don't try to.  Most Americans care about the welfare of others, but may be so focused on their own lives that it doesn't readily appear this way.  When I hear statements about the plight of the poor,  I don't even consider it because I know it's not entirely true.  Maybe that's where we differ in our thought processes.  As mentioned above, I don't believe in or give regard to labels.  While they may be helpful at times for specification, labels do not define who we are as individuals.   
          If you can't wrap your head around a political viewpoint, then don't.  Disregard it and focus on what you need to do.  Be around people who uplift  you and believe in you. Find them, they are here in every community.
          The US is a big country, full of many different kinds of people. For those that blame, there are more that understand and desire nothing more than for those who are in need to succeed.  It's taking time to listen and communicate that we find we're more alike than we are different.  When my friend from France visited here, numerous times, he often observed the optimistic attitude of Americans in contrast to his home country.  It is one of the qualities he loves about the US. 

          Sophia, you're a smart, intelligent woman. Perhaps look at your current life situation in a different light and doors will open for you.     smile

      2. gmwilliams profile image83
        gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Totally agree.    I have learnt in class and read books stating that humankind use only 10% of their brain capacity while the other 90% lies dormant!  Putting that issue aside, so many people have the mindset that successful people are diametrically different than they are and have some  "magical" capacity that they do not.    Many people have been inculcated  with the premise that they are average and insignificant which turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.   

        How many times have people observed successful people thinking that what these successful people have achieved is beyond their purview because they were so-called unlucky regarding circumstances and the successful are extremely lucky and fortunous?   A male relative of mine observed a highly successful businessman, stating that an average man like he was could never achieve the level of success that the businessman has.    This male relative believe that he was nobody, so that become the theme of his life.      Yes, rebekahELLE, there are many of us who have negative mindsets which precludes us from achieving and utilizing our utmost in human potential.

        I remember reading an article in the Reader's Digest decades ago in which a highly successful person who was a C student with an average IQ was told by his parents that he was above average.   That inculcation gave this child self-confidence to achieve his dreams.    Conversely, I had a supervisor who had an extreme dearth of self-esteem.   She came from a wealthy family.    She attended the best schools.   Her IQ was prodigious; however, her parents especially her mother told her that she was stupid and worthless.    She was deemed college material; however, she did not attend college because her mother constantly told her that she was not college material.    I and other coworkers heard her story about her mother ad infinitum.    She had the worst self-esteem imaginable.   

        One astute coworker told her that she should attend college but to no avail.   This supervisor said no because in her estimation, she was utterly stupid.   She stated that each time she wanted to do something, her mother discouraged her.   I told her not to listen to her mother but she stated that there was nothing else she could do.    This supervisor was a very bright woman; however, she failed to achieve her potential because she developed a can't attitude and listened to her mother instead of being self-motivated and self-directed.   

        One can achieve(excluding extreme types of mental, physical, and other types of disabilities) if one sets one mindset to do so!   However, the majority of people would rather make excuses for their lives than to get out of their particular comfort zone to achieve their human potential!  I want to add to your statement that if a person wants to do something, he/she can.   There was a student at my college who was a below average student.   In high school, she struggled yet she was accepted at my college.   She struggled through college; however, she believed in herself and her abilities.   She was accepted into a graduate school.   She has a Doctorate in Education and is a consultant regarding educational programs.  This woman refuse to let her less than stellar academic achievement in high school and average grades in college stop her from accomplishing her goals.

    5. austinhealy profile image73
      austinhealyposted 11 years ago

      We're only as good as our own limitations. As much as I would love to be Russell Crow taking Emily Blunt on a hot date, I don't see it happen anytime soon. Knowing (and accepting) his own limitations is not an easy thing to do. But if one can manage to go past one's ego, I firmly belive, it will greatly contribute to some form of happiness. To answer the question, personal experience doesn't necessarily  mean others can do it, but everyone is entitle to take a shot. That when the luck factor kicks in ! Thanks for a great hub.

      1. profile image0
        Sophia Angeliqueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Austin Healy, I think you've hit on something very important. It's getting past one's ego. In the 50s and 60s, subduing the ego was considered an important mark of character.

      2. livewithrichard profile image73
        livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I hear what you are saying but who defines those limitations?  Do you set them because of a subdued ego or is your ego subdued by society and negative naysayers?  I'm sorry but we need people with big egos. People with big egos but poor charisma are the driving force behind innovation and technology (Henry Ford, Bill Gates)  and people with big egos and good charisma become the leaders we need and want to follow. We need leaders that say "Yes We Can." People with a healthy sense of ego (whatever that is) are the cogs in the engine that drives our economy.. they go to work, or search for work, every day, they contribute to their communities and to charity, they build strong relationships with their friends and families. People with poor egos (low self esteem and sense of self) they're the kinks in the engine, the negative naysayers, the finger pointers, they take more than they give back.

        These egos are evenly distributed among ALL financial levels... its not just the poor that are takers and its not just the rich that are givers.  If you say "I can't" and truly believe it then you won't.  If you say "I can" and truly believe it then anything is possible. If you don't think so, then how does the daughter of 2 flight attendants become the wife of a Prince?

        1. gmwilliams profile image83
          gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Self-fulfilling prophecy, excellent premise, Livewithrichard.   I could not have agreed with you more.   Many people let "others" own them and they wonder why they are not successful and living life to the fullest.    In order to be successful and happy, one must own one's life and learn not to give one's power away.     People have been in the habit of giving one's power away to those who they deem are "superior" to them.     

          People have been told that it is wrong to believe oneself to be signficant.   Oh, it is good to have self-esteem but only in modicum amounts.   They have been inculcated with the premise that to think highly of oneself is equated with pride and conceit.   One is taught to be modest and humble.   Well, in order to succeed, one must initially have a high self-regard in addition to strategizing and implementing a smart work plan.   Most successful people had the premise of I can.    People who have little self-esteem tend to let the negaters overrule them with limitations i.e. such people are owned instead of owning!  Many people tend to live by the dictates of other mortals who are the same as they are- this is sad indeed!   Again, excellent premise, Livewithrichard!

        2. austinhealy profile image73
          austinhealyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Nobody defines limitations, they are our natural boundaries. Let's take an example : how fast can you run ? Unless you're Forrest Gump,no matter how fast, at some point, you're going to reach your natural limitation. If you apply this physical law to intellect, it works as well. I would love to be able to draw and paint beautifully but everything I draw looks like my dog did it. Because it is not part of my ability. That doesn't take anything away from me because I am good at other things that I'm sure some people cannot do. I just have to be honnest with myself and recognise those limitations. I never said we don't need people with big egos : even though they are mostly a pain in the rear, you are right, they contribute widely to society. I just meant to say that someone sometimes has to go past their own ego to be completely honest with themselves. I'm not opposed to saying "yes we can" a million times, but every time the honest answer will be :"Maybe we will". When it comes to choose a career, are you going to apply for a job related to something you know you're not good at ? Probably not. You are going to polish any natural ability you KNOW you have and make it a career, because in that particular instance, you are honest and recognize your abilities because your paycheck depends on them. And I'm not saying some of our natural abilities cannot be improved by education, but that would be another topic. Thanks for a great debate which I am truly enjoying

          1. livewithrichard profile image73
            livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            That's just it... there are no natural boundaries, only current limitations.  Let's take the example of how fast I can run.. when I joined the Army, many moons ago, all recruits were tested on their current physical limitations.  In running, my first test showed that I could only run the 2 mile test in 18 minutes and 34 seconds and it nearly killed me (metaphorically) which was very slow by the standards of my age bracket of the time. As my training continued and even a few years later when my service obligation ended, I was running 2 miles in 10 minutes and 48 seconds... which I would bet was faster than 90% of anyone else in the Army at that time and also, the 2 mile run was more like a walk in the park because I had been able to train myself to run in 2 different 26 mile marathons.  Now, I will agree there came a point where I allowed myself to regress and gave excuses as to why I can no longer run a marathon but it had nothing to do with my physical limitation and everything to do with my current priorities.

            I can relate to the example you give about being able to draw as well.  I'm 43 now and I was about 35 when I first purchased a set of paints and brushes, some canvas and an easel. I thought it would be easy to paint the pictures I seen in my mind but my first attempts were unidentifiable abstracts and even today I look at them and wonder what was I thinking.  However I never stopped there and I continued to paint as well as attempt other artistic outlets.  I'm not going to be filling up any art studios or make a living off of my art, but I can say for certainty that I can do it.

            15 years ago, I started writing screenplays.  I submitted over 2 dozen of them to agents and producers over the years and never had one interest.  Didn't stop me from writing and perfecting my craft, and last year I was signed by an agent for a Romantic comedy that I had created and during this past year I have given my agent 2 additional scripts.  Where would I be if I had listened to some of the reply letters I had received stating that my writing was crap, I would never make it in this business, quit now and find a job at   

            The point to all of this is that I never let anyone set a limitation on me and if they did I took it as a challenge.  I think that if more people challenged themselves then they would be in a much better state of mind. 

            So you see, I don't believe in natural boundaries as you have described.  I believe current limitations need to be challenged and I am inspired by so many that see it that way as well... ie those amazing athletes that participate in the Special Olympics, and those amputee War Heroes that compete with their new prosthetic limbs.  I can go on and on with this list but I think you get my point.

    6. Xenonlit profile image60
      Xenonlitposted 11 years ago

      We are all products of our environments and upbringings. I doubt that others could do everything that I have done unless they grew up with families that were good at a variety of pursuits and valued education.

      It breaks my heart to see America writing off poor kids who have as much intelligence and potential as any others. It is crime, bad parents, hateful police and other threats to life that distracts them, and it is not fair.

      It really hurts to know how hard it is for a poor kid to get through college these days, just to find out that there are no jobs. That opportunity was a huge part of my success in life. No way am I going to lie and claim that "they" could do it if they wanted to.

      I believe that some people have convinced themselves that their opportunities are available to anyone. They are not perceptive or observant enough, or they have deluded themselves into thinking that their life experiences can be imitated by someone else.

      With compassion and understanding that this is not the same world that a lot of us were blessed with, we can help. We can encourage. We can lend a hand. But let's get off the expectation track. Young people today live in a world that we do not know that much about.

      1. profile image0
        RobSchneiderposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        That's a great point, Xenonlit. One of the things that has always annoyed me the most about Americans is the notion that a "can do" attitude is all it takes to succeed. In the past, the infrastructure was there for nice middle class white kids. I went to the University of California for free back in the 60s - just had to get the grades in HS for acceptance. Had I wanted to start a corporate career, there were jobs in abundance. The rug's been pulled out from under this generation, though. The old line that if you don't succeed it's your fault doesn't apply.


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