run what ya brung

It was his first time sparring in front of judges and the first of his age group to compete and my son wasn’t faring well. His opponent, the eventual second-place finisher, was clearly experienced with martial arts tournaments, knew what was expected, and was significantly taller. With about 8 extra inches of legs, his competitor had a large advantage and knew how to use it. My son made a great attempt, but there would be no trophy for him.

If it were a movie, he would have won against the odds and earned the respect of his mortal enemy while learning to appreciate true friendship, etc., etc. In real life, he was just a slightly overwhelmed six year old trying his best and probably wishing he were somewhere else.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses. No matter how hard we try, we may never fully get rid of weaknesses or be able to learn or develop to the level of other people’s strengths. We’re not all 6’ tall, we don’t all have 150 IQs, we don’t all start life with a nice trust fund, we haven’t all been to an Ivy League school. Yes, life is not fair. Agreed. Move on.

It’s cliché to say, but it doesn’t matter where we start or what our innate limitations are. Not because with enough heart and perseverance we can create a Hollywood ending. No, that’s the happy myth we are routinely sold.

It doesn’t matter because there isn’t a thing we can do about it. NOTHING. We cannot change our starting point. So not much use putting any thought into it.

The more important question is: What are you going to do about it? How can you use your strengths, weaknesses, and the package of brains and heart and talent and interests and life experience that is you to your advantage?




  1. “It doesn’t matter where we start or what our innate limitations are.” So very, very true. It’s up to us to decide what we will do with what we have. In spite of all my wishing and wanting, I’ll never be more than just a smidge over 5′ tall … that’s what ladders and stepstools and tall husbands are for! Recognizing what we can do well and asking for help when needed, gets us places we never thought we could reach. Or we can decide we’re just short. I prefer the first way!


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