This ‘motivational’ graphic popped up in my Facebook feed recently. ‘Your only limit is you.’ While I’m pretty confident it was created and shared with the intention to make me feel good about myself, and go about my day with a little more puff in my chest, it had the opposite effect.
It’s essentially saying, “If you’re not everything you want to be, you only have yourself to blame.” Which, excuse me, is rubbish.
There are plenty of external limits trying their best to stop you being everything you might want to be. How about:
The colour of your skin
Your credit rating
The contents of your wallet
The country you were born in
Who your parents are
Which school you went to
Your ‘social capital’ (how many useful connections you - or your family - have)
Your health (physical and mental)
Whether you like girls or boys (or somewhere in between)
How attractive you are
I could go on.
How many old black lesbians from rural communities in low-income countries do you see in positions of ‘success’ and power? It’s not because they don’t try as hard as young white straight men born and raised in the US by millionaire lawyers. It’s down to a little thing called privilege.
So, yes. You do need the right attitude to succeed. But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking it’s all you need.
If you’re not achieving everything you want to right now, go easy on yourself. And give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back every time you smash down any one of the barriers in your way.