Xavier Jared


Two brothers on personal development, philosophy, and being awesome

Permanent Pessimism


Last week we wrote about essentially realising that you have the potential to do pretty much anything. In an uncharacteristic bout of continuity, I am going to explore that a bit further with a more recent event. Jared is going to follow up with a story of this own next Tuesday.

I teach people how to dance. The most common response is “I am too uncoordinated, I could never do that.” With very few exceptions, this is an outright lie. Later, as the lie reveals itself and the dancer within blossoms, it transforms into “I could never perform in front of people”, another affront to truth, continuing into “I could never teach” and beyond.

This is pessimistic thinking, and there are no grounds for it. Coordination, performing, teaching ability and pretty much anything you choose to name are not things you have or do not have; they are skills to be learned. The highest crime though is the permanence in the statement, the never. Humans are wonderfully malleable, especially when we put our mind to it. You can still be pessimistic if you must, but at least remove the permanence: “I am fairly uncoordinated, I’m not sure I would be any good.” Leave open the possibility, and give yourself the opportunity to surprise yourself.

Story Time

Last month Jodie decided she wanted to install a bath. We have a tiny bathroom with barely enough room for a shower. Besides, you need plumbing and form work and all sorts of building skills to put a bath in, right? Where do you even obtain a bath, anyway? No way we can have a bath, I said.

Sounds like permanent pessimism, right?

Jodie has installed a bath in every house she has lived in for the past fifteen years. A browse on Gumtree, an early morning tram to Jared’s house to borrow his car, a drive to Thornbury, and $50 later we had a metal bath in the boot. She lined up a few bricks on the floor, allowing for slippage when we pushed the bath in to the shower, and within 15 minutes it was installed. It is not going to win any design awards, but you can’t argue that you can’t have a bath in it.

The Bath
Against all my expectation, the bath.

I am an optimistic person, but I still get caught out every now and then. Keeping checking yourself for negative thoughts that are holding you back. Five years ago I did not exercise, eat well, nor even dance at parties, let alone teach. You will never be more awesome if you think the person you are today is the same person you will be next year.

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