I blame my parents for this one!

If you knew my parents you’d hardly guess just how devious and pernicious they actually are.  On the surface they seem like really nice people, good salt-of-the-earth folks who would go out of their way to help someone in need.  What you wouldn’t know unless you grew up in their household is the twisted philosophy they try to impart to young, impressionable minds.  I do.  I grew up there and had my mind forever poisoned.  What did my folks do that was so egregious?  That’s simple, they told me I could do it all, anything I wanted in fact.  I’ve spent half a lifetime trying to prove their hypothesis and people, I’m tired.

I’m tired of trying to fit this square peg into a round hole.  Looking back over the still-steaming wreckage of some of my experiences I have learned in fact that I can NOT do anything I put my mind to.  I can NOT sing certain hip-hop songs in karaoke.  I can not be the Master of Ceremonies and fill time between acts of a campus talent show on three hours’ notice.  I can not figure out underwriting for third-party-administered insurance plans on my own.  And sadly, I can not operate and manage a farm.  I can do a lot of things.  I can sing particular ballads and have done so in public with a small amount of success and beer involved.  I can deliver a decent, practiced presentation and even make it a bit entertaining.  I can analyze risk for livestock operations and advise people about their options for coverage.  And lastly, I do love the farm.  But unfortunately I have had to learn a difficult lesson; loving something doesn’t always mean you have an aptitude for it.

I’ve given up things I really liked because I came to the conclusion I was just no good at them.  There aren’t many sports I don’t like and golf is no exception.  I enjoy being outside, whacking the ball around and spending time with family or friends.  The problem is; I suck at golf.  I really tried when I was on the course (which wasn’t much admittedly) to get better at the game for over 25 years.  Eventually I had to admit that as much as I liked the idea of golf, the fact that I was so awful at the game meant I was mostly miserable and/or embarrassed while I was playing it.  So, a couple of years ago I sold my clubs.  To be honest, I haven’t missed the frustration (go figure).  Sometimes admitting defeat can be as sweet as victory and that applies to how many things you’re trying to do at once just as it does to what you’re trying to do.

Back when our kids were in grade school and middle school I carried a checkbook-sized weekly planner in my back pocket all the time.  I and the kids referred to it as my “life” because that’s literally what it contained.  This was well before we were all synced up in Outlook and through our iPhones which have now become our “lives.”  This little planner contained every practice, game, family event, school function and appointment going on in the whirlwind that was our house.  I never thought I’d be that guy but I had no choice; there was no way I was going to remember all the things I had to do without it.  They were busy so that meant that my wife and I were busy.  The fact of the matter was though that I still had a strong urge to write and be creative.  I’ll allow you to decide whether I’m giving myself an invalid excuse but making time to write just wasn’t in the cards.  I couldn’t multi-task enough to do everything and I decided a long time ago I don’t want to because I found, like golf, when I multi-tasked I was miserable.

Doing too many things at once is a recipe, at least for me, for mediocrity.  Everyone has their number of things they can juggle at a time and still deliver satisfactorily.  For me, that number is one.  If your number is higher than that and you can feel good about the job, effort, dedication and outcome I will admit I am not worthy to be on a committee with you.  I just know that personally, to focus and perform like I want to, more than one thing is an invitation for the law of diminishing returns (who knew Econ 101 would come in handy) to rear its ugly head.  I realize the point could be made that this makes me somewhat of a perfectionist but believe me if you asked my spouse if that carries over into my housecleaning skills she would disabuse you of this notion.  But where was I, oh yes, not being able to focus.  Point made I guess.  The bottom line in this whole thing is knowing who you are and what you can handle.

Over the years I’ve discovered, grudgingly and kicking and screaming, that I am not capable of doing some things and that in fact I can’t even do many things at once.  Call it pride or ego but even with the self-knowledge of this, I’ve struggled off and on with this.  So, today, this fourth Thursday of August in 2017 I am resolving to stop telling myself “sure, I can do that” and “yeah, no problem, what’s one more thing.”  I don’t know how it will all shake out but I’m certain I’ll be a happier guy.

You may have come to this conclusion or you might be that whirling dervish of a person who keeps multiple plates spinning in mid-air at once; I don’t know.  What I do know is that if my little resolution this Thursday gives you license to pare down or simplify your life, I’m a happy person.  I hope you are too and that you’ll share this with a friend.

My blog is full of things I’ve quit on Thursday over the last 10+ months and I hope you’ll check them out by clicking here.  If you like what you read please be my guest and subscribe.  It’s free and you can do it by clicking this or at the blog.  Subscribing means you will receive an email on Saturdays with links to my posts and nothing else.  I never sell or share emails so don’t worry about getting a bunch of junk.