Thursday, February 5, 2009



Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do . ”

John Wooden

Powerful thought , huh ??

What is your take on this ????

How often we waste our precious time, energy and resources on “fixing” or “ trying to prove otherwise” what we can not do , or to put it a little simpler, what we are naturally not wired for, in utter neglect of what we can, what we are naturally wired for ! Of course, that does not mean at all that we should be quick in quitting certain things assuming that we can not do this or do that . No, at times, we just know intuitively that we have a flair for doing certain things as against certain other things that we simply can not do to our satisfaction. And at other times, despite best of conscious & conscientious efforts, things just don’t work out giving enough indication that it’s not our cup of tea ; as against certain other things, that just come naturally to us and give us an “aha” feeling while doing them. Consciously watching out for these defining moments would have us gain insight into our true strengths and natural talents to build further on them and live a life of fulfilment. Focusing too much on our weaknesses would result in wasted opportunities for growth in our areas of strength. Wise people do not let that happen.


Asha said...

Even if we are not good at something, got to try atleast once and then decide whether to continue in that path or not, than just giving up on something just because we think we can't handle it,right?

Of course, we all achieve better when we strive at what we really like and what we know, still got to try our hand at "unknown" or "not likable" tasks! :)

snigdha said...

Hi Asha, I agree completely with u on that … trying the unknown and not quitting so soon. Thanks for your comments.
Just to elaborate further on my post:The focus of this particular thought is not on what u can not , but on what u can. It emphasises the importance of building on our strengths , rather than getting bogged down with or desperate about our weaknesses. It does happen many a times, that set backs on some particular front upsets one so much that one forgets that there are many other fronts where one can excel provided the required energy gets diverted to those areas of strengths. Personally, I have come across so many bright children, who burn their heart out to become, say a doctor or an engineer, just to go with the fad of the day, although they lack the specific aptitude for that but are exceedingly creative and can do wonders in , say, art, human sciences , leadership etc. Actually, so far as “ what we can not” or our weak zone is concerned what matters critically is to know where to draw a line between trying and quitting; and that defining moment normally is experienced by you, if you have already tried out consciously and conscientiously , and are open to what your heart says.

The thought here runs apparently a little contrary to what I brought out in my earlier article “ Of Bumble Bees n Elephants ” where I say, sometimes it is better not to know what you can not , as you will tend to limit what you can if you think you know what you can not. But as I said, the contradiction is only apparent - at a slightly deeper level, both the standpoints only complement each other ! Yes, not allowing “what u can not do” interfere with “what u can do” does not mean that one should not try out things that, at first, appear to be in one’s weak zone or in the unknown zone; neither does it mean that one should quit trying that thing soon after a couple of setbacks. No, what it seeks to emphasise is : having known what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, consciously work on your natural talents and strengths to leverage them for excellence and do not just let your strengths remain dormant by getting constrained or caught up fully with what you have already found out as your rather weak zone, which need to be managed no doubt , but may not turn out to be one of your best abilities no matter howsoever optimist you may be, no matter how much you try on that. If you are not becoming, say, a great athlete despite best efforts, but have the abilities to become say a great singer, go for it and become a great singer by all means ! Why on earth should your failure to become a successful athlete come in the way of your becoming a great singer ? If as a student, you are not a mathematics brain, but excel in drawing, do try to improve your maths to the best of your abilities, but not totally at the cost of your drawing classes ! To put it in another way, do not neglect your maths, but do focus on your drawing !!

Sambit said...

My last post to your " Pause & Ponder-I" links to this one in a way. One does not possess unlimited ability or unlimited resources. So it is likely that one will choose optimisation over maximisation for getting the best out of life. He has to concentrate on the comfortable zone to make the best use of his resources. This in effect means staying out of the known "you are not" Zone. However one has to make his usual forays to the unknown zone to add new areas to both these zones. This will ensure the variety in life as well as the adventure to make the spirit jump.

snigdha said...

Thanks Sambit for bringing out the perspectives with clarity. Yes, I agree with your views 1001% and in fact, the themes of all my last three posts - since bumble bee - actually are directed to seek out the synergy amongst the different dimensions of the same "I" - in search of the real meaning of " Yes, I can ".

avinash said...

After a long time i did come across a post that really did justice to its title. This post really made me pause and ponder and snigdha u deserve a pat on the back for it.
As u said snigdha that we should focus on what we can n not waste our time n energy in stupid pusruits. I couldn't agree more. But i think this is possible only if u r leading an ideal life which i supppose most of us aren't. There is a very simple explanation to why we go after what we can't and it goes like this-"Forbidden fruit is the sweetest." We are naturally wired to fantasise, to run after stuff which is out of our reach, to live a life which we see in our dreams. And it is this pursuit that forms the base of the most important emotion in our lives-hope. Trying to do the impossible makes us feel that hope is immortal. It never dies. U know our success always walks in hand with our doom. So even if u concentrate on your strengths and b successful eventually it will all end someday. U know what separates us from the Gods and makes the Gods envious of us?
The very fact that we can't do evrything. We will never b more beautiful than we are now. We will never be here again. so all the time u r here do what u can't do coz only then will u know what u can do.
Snigdha i consider u 2 b my blogger guru so keep posting gr8 posts like this one.

Deba said...

I am completely agreed with you that more often than not we waste our valuable time, energy and resources on trying to prove otherwise. It is not a fact that we cannot do any particular thing. All the human beings are much more powerful than they think themselves. They can do anything and everything. But, for that purpose, they have to find out their own self, they have to be inclined and dedicated, they have to move steadily and patiently. Whatsoever, there is undoubtedly a need to pause and ponder over the following questions before taking any new initiative:

• What do I want?
• Why do I want to take up this initiative?
• What do I achieve ultimately after taking the initiative?
• Would the achievement give me the desired satisfaction?
• Whether I’m dissatisfied presently, and if so, what are the reasons?

Answers to the above questions in a cool mind can help us take a correct decision before taking up any new initiative and thereby avoid any wastage of time, energy, resources and more importantly our peace of mind.


snigdha said...

Avinash & Deba, thx a lot for actually giving a few of your precious moments to ponder over this - yr comments reflect that. The idea is to make and help people "think" for themselves. And as you get into the habit of thinking and reflecting - u will be amazed to see how the perspectives emerge clearer and clearer ! Yes, this particular thought, though talks of building on your strengths - it never suggests that u should not venture into the unknown or to accept defeat without putting up your best in whichever path you have set out. The message is that you should not allow yourself to feel so beaten over what u can not do to yr satisfaction or to the world's satisfaction that u lose the eye to see what you are talented at or u lose the enthu to pursue what u can, what u are strong in, what u r passionate about. Every single human being has a purpose behind his existence and it is he , who alone can seek it and find it, if he so chooses. And yes, HOPE is the ultimate thing that keeps us going , as rightly observed by Avinash.

I have recently received a story by mail from a dear friend of mine, which illustrates the core perspective of the thought in this post so beautifully that I have decided to share that as a sequel. Thx for sharing yr perspectives, guys!