Warning: This is an embarrassing, lesson-learned, post about myself.
I wasted years waiting for the rewards from being a ‘big-fish’ in a very small pond.
Let me explain:
As a kid, and without a lot of competition, a gift for memorization, coupled with a compulsive desire for showing off how smart I was during school testing, I wowed the adult witnesses hanging about.
Adults regularly gushed about how excited they were of my potential and coming successes.
And, I often heard how ‘special’ I was.
Even my Mom, who pretty much regarded everyone as a balloon over-filled with hot air, hinted I might have a little extra ‘something’.
I’d like to say this unsolicited praise didn’t affect me.
But then, I’d also like to be taller, have a full head of hair and have Hillary Clinton’s money…
In retrospect, I let the accolades make me cocky, impatient, unsympathetic and entitled.
All self-damaging traits!
Traits that life eventually knocked outta me, mostly…
However, the damage done, and I alone did it to myself, were my expectations that all I need do was show up.
While I’m not in the habit of wasting energy lamenting what could have been, I do acknowledge the times I didn’t make the most from legitimate opportunities because I wouldn’t do the grunt work I could’ve done…
Subconsciously, I expected success because I was special.
Isn’t thinking we’re ‘special’, the same as feeling we’re ‘entitled’?
For some time, I’ve been thinking that some school teachers, some social activists and some parents, have mixed up entitlement with encouragement.
It’s good to encourage kids.
And, it’s good to stoke them up about their inherent potential.
On the other hand, entitlement isn’t inherent.
And, labeling a kid ‘special’, is most always a disservice waiting to happen.
If my Mom had put that kinda bug in my ear, I doubt if I’d ever got around to figuring out I had nothing coming that I didn’t earn for myself.
Currently, we have a generation and a half who need to overcome their views upon entitlement.
Not complaining. Not pointing fingers. Because I too felt the same, I understand their feelings.
But we’ve gotta stop waiting for our ship to come in, swim out and pull it to shore…
Because we’re just not all that special…
What do you think?