How to Break The Mindset That You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To
A wise man I called “Dad,” though that may or may not have been his name, once sat me on his knee and said “Son, you ain’t shit.” What followed were two hours of the most important, and unprompted, verbal abuse I’ve ever received. Too many people nowadays think that they can “do anything as long as you set your mind to it”. I love telling people that no, they can’t. Dunking on optimistic fools with an argument that solid is the wind beneath my wings.
To you, tender reader, I ask as “Dad” once asked me: If you, a run-of-the-mill shitstain, can accomplish your goals, then what made those goals so special in the first place? Only the Wright brothers, the Apollo 11 crew, and whoever first deep fried a cheese curd were people of exception. As for the rest of us? Don’t shoot for the moon when you can shoot for mid-level anonymity.
The fact of the matter is that a person’s success and happiness are dictated by the possession of certain attributes that you lack entirely. The world is not your oyster. It is your sea snail at best. The Lord did not give with both hands when He made you. He made you with defective parts, blindfolded, and with one hand as a goof. (That’s a small taste of the “birds and the bees” talk my father gave me when I was seven.)
Thinking you can accomplish anything will only lead to moments when you question if you have what it takes to succeed. I’ll save you the trouble by spelling it out for you the same way my father spelled it out for me when I asked him if I could be a fireman when I grew up: “You? Fuck no. You kidding? Ha! No. Okay, look, if you’re going to cry, do it in the shed, please. Thank you.”
The true secret to happiness is quitting enthusiastically and often. It was my dream to open a doughnut shop, so in my mid-twenties, I did. The dual forces of the financial crisis and America’s sudden fascination with losing weight teamed up to piss on my dream, so I quit trying, and I’ve been quitting ever since. Now, just for fun, I take up new pursuits that could change my life forever if I truly applied myself just so I can have the satisfaction of abandoning them at the first hint of hardship. Small businesses, book clubs, recreational basketball teams, you name it. I quit with a smile, knowing I’m walking away from a fulfilling path before it inevitably crumbles on its own.
All of existence is about taking two steps forward and then leaving claw marks in the ground as morons drag us 10 steps back. So why bother? If you find yourself in the middle of trying, quit. It’s never too late or too early to just stop believing you can accomplish anything.