Do you ever feel like you’re not living up to your potential? Like maybe you’re not quite doing as well as you could be – and you want to – but you’re just not sure how?
I’m reading Breakfast with Buddha – part of an attempt (which also includes stretching often and taking walks) to remind myself daily that life is about living, and stress is often an unnecessary evil. (So far it’s going well — we’ll see if I can make it last!)
Last night, I read a few paragraphs that stuck with me. They were supposed to be an excerpt from the enlightened character Volya Rinpoche’s book, and, very summarized, they went something like this:
When a boy is young, he perhaps loves music and wants very much to play the piano. So he takes lessons, and he delights in learning to make music. As he gets older, he realizes that he maybe is not as skilled as others, so he tries harder. And perhaps someone tells him that his fingers aren’t quite straight enough, and his melodies don’t flow perfectly. He gets discouraged, but keeps working at it. Eventually, he feels as if he has reached the limit of his abilities. He feels that he will always be mediocre. And so maybe, as much as he loves music, he starts to associate it with feelings of inadequacy, and he lives the rest of his life thinking he is less than he should be; however, he feels that there is nothing he can do about it.
The author then compares this situation to spirituality. People may naturally want to be spiritual, and to do good, and to feel close to God. But so often in religion, people are discouraged for not being “good” enough, that they eventually feel that it is not worth it to try, as they are destined to fail.
I couldn’t help but see a parallel to this situation in every aspect of life — in work, in relationships, in everything.
I think of the wonderful (and not so wonderful) people I’ve met on my educational and career path and I can’t help feeling that some of them (not most) maybe started out loving what they did, but then felt bogged down by the small hardships of life, and the easy success others seemed to have and, while they were still good at their jobs, they didn’t quite shine like it seemed they wanted to. And they didn’t think they were capable of more. They were content, yes, but happy? I’m not sure.
So I am making it my personal mission to A)Keep fostering my creativity, my education, my work experience, and not be discouraged when things don’t go as well as I’d like them to — even if it happens over and over again, and B)Uplift others. Tell them when they are doing a good job. Encourage them when they are trying to do something they love.
I hope this story helps inspire you to do the same. Basically, life’s too short to feel like crap. =)