Everything Works, But Not Everything Works For You
LISTEN: For the audio version of this Letter, follow this link to Soundcloud.
We, humans, have a remarkable capacity to adjust and adapt so that we can thrive in any environment.
I believe that’s one of the key characteristics that has enabled us to become the most dominant species on the planet. Regardless of the situation, we find a way to make it work.
What that signifies to me is this: Everything works. Every lifestyle, every diet, every fitness program, every strategy, every way of living, every methodology. All of it works.
But – and this is a big booty but - just because everything works, not everything is going to work for you. Let me explain.
I’m sure you’ve tried something that didn’t work out. Maybe it was a fitness program. Maybe it was a relationship. Maybe it was a job. Whatever it was, it didn’t work out…for you.
Chances are, there has been or will be someone who succeeds with that same fitness program, in that same relationship, or in that same job.
This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you or whatever it was you were doing. It just means it wasn’t the right fit for you. But it will likely be the right fit for someone else.
This is great news because when we start to understand what this means it can help us redefine how we view “failure.”
Or rather, we begin to understand that failure no longer needs to have an implicitly negative connotation. It’s just information. Neither good nor bad. Just information that we can use moving forward.
If something works for you, do more of that. If something doesn’t work for you, do less of that.
It’s so damn simple and yet there are many areas of our life where we feel like something should be working but really we’re just trying to drive that proverbial square peg into a round hole.
There is nothing wrong with the peg. There is nothing wrong with the hole. They are what they are, and you can’t force one into the other.
I’m not sure who said it, but I love this quote:
“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.”
For a fish, climbing a tree doesn’t work. Again, there is nothing wrong with the fish and nothing wrong with the tree. Both “work.” Just not for each other.
What does this all mean for the rest of us?
It means that, regardless of the area of our life, if we want to be successful in anything we have to find what works for us. It means that we can no longer view failure as a negative but rather one step closer to figuring out what works. It means that regardless of what our mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends tell us we should do, it’s our responsibility to figure it out ourselves. This needn’t be a daunting task rather an exciting opportunity.
Consider this, do you know how many times and how many different filaments Edison used when developing the light bulb? Thousands. It’s even been said he used the hair from one of his employees. Nothing was off limits in his experiments.
Because that’s all our lives really are, experiments. Figuring out the things that work and doing more of that. Figuring out the things that don’t work, and doing less of that.
Every day is another opportunity to learn more about who we are and how we can best interact with the world. That’s what we need to make us come alive.
And as the homie Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Begin asking yourself what makes you come alive. You’ll figure it out. With enough consistency and effort, you’ll always figure it out. You'll always find the answers you need.