Life's Lie: You can be anything you want to be.
No, you can’t. If that were true there would be a lot fewer janitors and a lot more astronauts. Olympic swimmers will not become heavyweight boxing champions, and professional basketball players will not exchange positions with professional horse jockeys – no matter how much they want to.
The idea that we’re all born with an unlimited list of occupational possibilities to pursue is a heartless assertion to foist upon children and a set-up for adults. The U.S. Army was closer with “Be All You Can Be” – meaning you can define and realize your potential. Your potential — no matter how gifted, educated, and experienced you are — is not going to include the overwhelming heap of possibilities that is the scope of every human being’s potential combined – and it shouldn’t.
How in the world can one expect to reach even one goal when entertaining, or worse, seeking thousands of them? The idea that we can be anything we want to be lacks focus and insures failure.
The truth is we all have limits. That’s good news, not bad news. Without a firm grasp on what it is we can and cannot do, we have no hope of living life to its fullest. To get that grasp, we must attend to the three types of limits: real, situational, and self-imposed. All can be altered, although altering the latter (self-imposed limits) is usually easier and more effective, especially when dealing with the limits imposed by the former (real and situational limits).
Real limits include our physical person (e.g.: height, the number of working limbs, sight, hearing) and geographical location (e.g.: birthright, citizenship). Situational limits include where we currently live, our present income and education level, and the proximity of others in our lives. Self-imposed limits include (a lack of) confidence and imagination, and substance abuse.
These limits are almost always composed of feelings rather than being tangible liabilities, and are the easiest to tackle. To be sure, “easiest” is relative to how difficult it is to resolve a real limit, like a missing limb or having an incurable disease. Substance abuse is usually the result of a self-imposed limit. Resolve one and you’re on your way to resolving the other.