Something I’ve learned about living with a physical difference is that someone will always jump to conclusions about the extent of my capabilities. It’s been that way for 28 years and probably will remain that way as long as I’m alive. (Although, the purpose of this blog is to change that.) It’s not just something that I alone deal with. At some point in time, we’ve all had someone tell us that we “aren’t good enough” or maybe even recite the limits of our capabilities as if they are etched in stone. It’s not always verbal…it can be a grimacing look, people ignoring your ideas or talents, and even the denial of opportunities based on unfounded assumptions. So, how do you deal with people who tell you you’re “not good enough“?
1.) Listen and Digest
As much as we are conditioned to tune out everything negative that comes our way, sometimes, you have to listen. When you hear “not good enough”, it’s not always malicious. You have to listen and digest what’s being said in order to really determine if you are actually getting constructive feedback. Honesty isn’t always pretty and we’d be naive to think it is. So first, listen then digest what’s being said. ( And not while forming a response in your head.) Somethings, although harsh, can be constructive. So if it’s constructive, take notes and go straight to point three mentioned below.
2.) If it is Malicious, You Don’t Have to Strike Back
It’s easy to forget this. I can remember when I was a kid people would always tell me things like, ” You can’t play video games, you can’t draw, you won’t be good enough to do…etc.”. I was always eager to fire back. I thought I had to battle to the death right there, in that moment, to demonstrate my ability and prove the person wrong. The fact is….you don’t.
As I’ve gotten older, I find that a lot of times you don’t have to say anything. (Yes, I still experience this type or treatment from adults and it’s really sad. We’re gonna change that though, right?) Now, I just smile and nod or I say “ok” and give them a huge grin. Why? Why would you grin if someone is being malicious? Easy, I have confidence in myself and that is something no one should EVER be able to take from you. Also, life is about the long game and that requires time, dedication, and patience. This leads to my third and most important point…
3.) “Not Good Enough” Should be Translated to “You’re NOW OBLIGATED to be GREAT“
Fact. It’s cool to be good at something, neat to be “kinda ok at it”, but history has a tendency to remember those who were great. You should want to be great at whatever it is you SET OUT to do. Anytime someone tells or treats you as if you are “not good enough” at something that only means…WORK AT WHATEVER THAT THING IS WITH SUCH A RELENTLESS EFFORT THAT THEY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOU. Use the rejection as motivation. Master it. Become GREAT. However, remember that you’re not doing it out of spite but out of a pure desire to learn and grow.
There are times when having people write you off can be a blessing. Sometimes, it is that rejection or lack of acceptance that can ignite a fire within us that we may have not even realized existed. This fire, if channeled into your efforts, is what can push you to the next level in whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. The fire is what will help you cultivate your talents, keep you motivated when you want to quit, and help you to develop attitudes and habits that lead to success.
So the next time someone tells you or tries to make you feel like you’re “not good enough” allow your mind to re-calibrate. Because, as we now know, what they are really saying is….. “YOU ARE NOW OBLIGATED TO BE GREAT.”