How to Not Fool Yourself

We often operate under the false impression that we are born with an unearned understanding of our own talent and potential.

But the truth is, self awareness comes from a retrospective view of our past successes and failures. Only when we have meaningful feedback from the outside world can we understand what we’re good at, and what activities grant us lasting satisfaction.

How many people want to be rock stars or celebrities, never having interacted with a large crowd, or gone without sleep for several nights, or dealt with the scrutiny of an unforgiving general public?

People want to be rock stars, because they don’t understand what the experience of being a rock star actually is.

Its dangerous to pursue something that you don’t love, and that you’re not good at. And its incredible how easily the human mind can deceive itself into doing just that.

Every person who pursues a risky career path wonders at some point or another:

Am I kidding myself? 

The answer to that question isn’t difficult to derive. Action will tell you. Failure will tell you. This is why the idea that failure is a necessary to precursor to success is much more than a glib platitude.

Without failure, we don’t learn our own weak points.

Without success, we have no understanding of our own aptitudes.

The two skills you must possess to answer that terrible question:

Am I kidding myself? 

Are these:

  1. The ability to know failure from success, and stare unflinchingly into the face of either one.
  2. The bravery to deduce your own talents and shortcomings, not from daydreams and intuitions, but concrete evidence from past instances of action taking.

Published by

Walker Edwards

Essays n' things

3 thoughts on “How to Not Fool Yourself”

  1. “To thine own self be true”. No truer words have ever been written.

    There’s one thing, however that I need to toss in here. Refusal to give up.

    When I started my career in Law Enforcement, I was the last person in the world you’d ever expect to become a good cop. I got into Law Enforcement because I needed a job. Before, I was an academic more comfortable in a library or laboratory, a way bit of a nerd, and the last person in the world who would call himself a tough guy (I still don’t). In fact, my first year as a rookie was so rough, that I actually believe I blew passing the academy on purpose. I was looking at my fear and shortcomings and they took center stage.

    This got so bad, it caused me to question my worth as a man and a human being. I decided that was a failure only if I decided to live there.

    So I dusted myself off, and tried again. I got hired as a cop in one of the roughest towns in Colorado (they’d ran all the previous cops out of town – at gunpoint I might add) and not only did I survive it, but I helped tame it. I retook the exams at the academy and aced them.

    I became a first class detective, and ran undercover narcotics teams, SWAT teams, and departments.

    I wasn’t going to let a failure beat me.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s