Some people go through life thinking they’re on the right path, doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but it’s a struggle every step of the way.
Maybe that person is you. Maybe you have a career you never wanted but everyone told you to pursue it. Maybe you’re trying to learn a new skill and nothing seems to be going well, but everyone else thinks it’s easy. Maybe others admired a talent of yours and told you to invest in it, so you did – but you never really enjoyed it and now you feel stuck.
The 5 of Cups
I used to be a professional Tarot reader. I worked at the Renaissance Faire in New York for a few years reading cards. That was a long time ago, though, and now the most I do is a reading for a friend from time to time.
The woman sitting before me was very talented and looking for answers. She wanted to know why she felt like she couldn’t be as good as everyone else seemed to be. She said that no matter how hard she tried, she could never replicate the success of others or perform with as much ease as her co-workers.
One of the cards in the woman’s reading was the Five of Cups. In a traditional deck, this card pictures a person saddened over the loss of the contents of one cup. If he only turn around, he’d see he still had four full cups behind him.
It hit me: The woman wasn’t focusing on what she does best.
You can’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has his or her own style, talent and skill set. You have to figure out what your personal strengths are and use them to your advantage instead of trying to be someone else. What works for one person might not work for you.
It’s fine to have role models and mentors and it’s fine to have an ideal to shoot for. Goals and ideals are necessary to living a fulfilled life. Aiming for them can provide fantastic results. And if you fall short of your goals? Well, you came damned close, didn’t you? You also learned along the way.
If you fail to reach your goals, does this mean you should give up and never try anything else ever again? Hell, no. You haven’t done anything wrong.
The setback is an opportunity to learn. Some of the greatest inventions never worked at all the first time around. The inventors watched their efforts blow up in their faces, they wiped off the soot and figured out why there was an explosion. There had to be a reason. They dove back in, tweaked the machine, and gave it another go.
They knew they could do it. Or at least, they were willing to try.
When you understand the limitations , when you know yourself and what you’re capable of doing, your goals are much easier to set. You’ll have confidence in your skills, which helps bolsters you through the hard times, and you’ll push through to the finish line.
You know that you’re good at what you do – it’s just a matter of getting past the sticking point and having enough faith in yourself to see the task through.
Find Your Focus
Realize the strengths you have. Focus on them, and you’ll find the world opens up for you. How do you find your focus? It’s not by spending your whole life searching for something that’s probably right in front of your face.
Start by taking a step back and stripping away the emotional attachment you have to what you’re doing now. Shed the fear. What is your true motivation for trying to do what you’re doing? Is it for approval from peers? Are you trying to live up to someone else’s standards? Are those standards real or imagined? Or is it just a lack of confidence?
You have all the tools for success right in your hand. Everyone has a set of unique talents. These differences make the world go round. If we were all the same doing the same in equal measure of talent, life would be pretty boring.
Your skill set and talents are yours and yours alone. Learn how to use them in the most effective way for you.
The moment I told my friend the same, it was as if the heavens had opened up and shed new light on her situation. Her subtle shift in perspective was enough to revive her hope and motivation.
She didn’t have to keep up with the others anymore. What others did wasn’t what she was meant to do. By the same token, others weren’t meant to do what she did either.
The next time you find yourself struggling, ask yourself whether this is what you really should be doing. If you’re sitting there, shaking your head and thinking, “What the hell am I doing?”, then, my friend, you need a change of perspective.
That doesn’t mean give up or quit, because it still takes effort to polish raw natural talent. But if you’ve given the situation your best shot and are still are not getting the results you hoped for, maybe it’s time to re-assess and see if your energy would be better spent elsewhere.
Do that now. Take a look at your life, and ask yourself if it feels right. If the answer is yes, then by all means keep on keeping on. If you feel some doubt, that’s okay. Explore further and ask yourself questions about what area might not be fitting well.