Do you argue for your limitations?

Once again, one of my puppers has stepped in to remind me what’s possible with creativity, determination, and a big enough “why.”

How? Maddy showed me the error of assuming that one needs opposable thumbs in order to open jars.

Having moved the jar of peanut butter further away from the edge of the counter before I left the house, I was fairly surprised to see it sitting on the living room floor. I didn’t even get mad, since Maddy and Barkley both had been very neat about licking out nearly nine ounces of peanut butter without spreading it all over the place. Once I got done shaking my head in bemusement, I realized Maddy had generously created a teaching moment just for me. Here’s what she reminded me about.

Stop thinking you “can’t” do something.

Obviously, Maddy doesn’t buy into the theory that opening jars requires thumbs and the fine motor skills to use them effectively. She demonstrated that all you really need is a good set of teeth and an inspiring target.

How often do you argue for your limitations by rehearsing all the reasons you “can’t” tackle a particular challenge? What would happen if, instead, you simply assumed that there was a way for you to succeed, then did what you had to do to figure it out?

Know which battles are worth fighting.

In Maddy’s case, choosing this particular battle was a no-brainer. She was willing to do what it took – and pay the potential consequences – because, hey, peanut butter.

While humans’ choices are often just a tad more complex than this, it still behooves us to realize that we’re unlikely to have the bandwidth to do everything it’s theoretically possible to do.

Much smarter to set yourself up for success by thoughtfully and strategically identifying your highest-payoff activities and putting your energy into them, then – with equal thought and intention – let the rest go.

This process of choice is made much easier by application of one of my very favorite tools.

Know why.

Maddy’s a pretty basic kind of girl. Her overriding “why” is equally basic: “Enjoy myself.” Whether this takes the form of snuggling with her human, running in the yard with her canine sister, or scarfing down peanut butter, she’s willing to take action and, when necessary, involve others (that would mostly be me) in helping her achieve her goals.

The more you stand to get from any given activity, the easier it is to persevere and figure out how to deal with the inevitable bumps in the road.

So the bottom line is this: What’s your peanut butter?


Now you may find yourself thinking, “Yeah, yeah. That’s all well and good, but there’s so much I have to get done, I don’t have any choice but to go flat out all day, every day.”

If that’s the case, I encourage you to check out Zoom In: How to Do What’s Important and Let the Rest Go.

This Kindle short read will give you a whole slew of actionable tips you can start applying today to let yourself off the hook of thinking everything has to be done and done now. The hour you’ll spend reading it is a great investment in sanity, which may be even more appealing than peanut butter.

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