How often have you heard someone say this?
It’s often used in marketing by coaches and mentors selling “success systems.” I admit, I used to say it, too. I don’t any longer, because I’ve realized it’s a lie.
I’ll never be able to play basketball like Michael Jordan, understand computers and programming like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or write novels like J.K. Rowling. Among many other things, I don’t have their physical or intellectual makeup, their life experience and motivations, or the market conditions that contributed to their success.
Does that mean I can’t learn how to play basketball, do computer programming, or write?
Of course not.
However, I would never expect to equal them in their success. I’m not them, and I don’t think it says anything bad about me that I recognize in many ways I don’t have what they have.
We each have our unique gifts and talents.
We have our own set of experience. We possess different motivations, drives, and work ethics. And we bring all of this into everything we do. As a result, we will be good at some things and not so good at others. We’ll find quick success in some endeavors—those that are a good match for us—and we’ll find ourselves extremely frustrated by others.
I’ve bought into this promise many times in the past, only to be disappointed.
I’ve also realized I was making this promise to my clients because I genuinely thought if I could figure things out and make things work, then why couldn’t anyone? I didn’t believe I was making an unrealistic promise. Until I realized that not everyone has the experience I have, not everyone is willing to work as hard as I do, not everyone is willing to stick with it as long as I am, not everyone has the tolerance for risk that I do, not everyone is willing to move through fear the way I am, not everyone has the support systems in place that I do, and to be quite honest not everyone is cut out to do what I do.
That’s not being arrogant. It’s just reality. Just as I’m not cut out to do what many other people do.
It was at this point I realized saying “If I Can Do It, Anyone Can” was a misrepresentation. It sounds nice. We’d like to believe it. But it’s simply not true.
Does that make teaching others how to do something a bad thing?
Not in my opinion. Learning is how we expand our horizons and broaden our expertise. Taking action with our new learning is how we practice, learn what we like and don’t like, and build our own experience. So keep on learning, keep on practicing, and keep doing the best you can.
And, stop comparing yourself to others, it’s an unfair comparison.
Just like expecting 5′ 4″ me to be able to play basketball like 6′ 6″ Michael Jordan!