Be better at what you’re wired for

I read Dan Schwabel’s blog interview with Randall Jones.  Jones wrote a book called The Richest Man in Town and said that we do our kids a disservice when we tell them “you can be anything you want to be—anything you dream of being.” They believe you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be so much more of what you are innately, genetically gifted at. Warren Buffet says, “I was wired to allocate capital.” He would have been a lousy fashion designer. Hartley Peavey of Peavey Electronics was wired to engineer amplifiers and musical equipment. He loved rock music, but he was a dreadful guitar player.

I love this.  We do everyone a disservice with this attitude and it’s rampant, especially with children.  There’s way too much encouragement for everyone to just work harder, try more, stick with it and success is yours, no matter what the topic at hand.  Not true!  That doesn’t mean you don’t strive to improve yourself, sure.  But even when you spend a ton of time and effort on xyz, chances are you’re still pretty crappy at xyz-ing, and now you feel worse because it’s clearly your fault–you must not have worked hard enough.

I will never be an analyst.  I will never be a painter.  I will never be a boxer.  When I finish cleaning my house and feel satisfied, no one will ever say how immaculate it is.  But I can be all sorts of things that are beyond me right now;  I may need to learn a little more or a lot more, to practice new skills or to rethink my whole approach.  They’re stretch goals but within reach.  I’m wired for product, for marketing to women, for thinking like a customer, for nurturing people I care about, for making decisions, for juggling multiple goals and activities at once, for motivating people to all row a certain way.

Sure, I can be anything… that requires those things.

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