Our Moral Compass: Don’t Let What You Can’t Do Affect What You Can Do

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

-John Wooden

No matter how hard we try there will always be things that we are great at doing as opposed to those things we are not. But how often do we let the things we cannot do (our weaknesses) consume us and allow it to overshadow our strengths? Unfortunately for some of us a little too much. Legendary College Basketball coach John Wooden reminds us in today’s quote that we need to make the decision to not let things we cannot do interfere with what we can do. I think his reason for thinking this is that it really is not productive.

When we focus on what we can’t do we can get ourselves trapped in a sort of wormhole that if we aren’t careful may trap us in a negative cycle and way of thinking. Am I saying we should never try to work on those things we cannot do well? No. There are times we should focus on our challenges or weaknesses to try and improve ourselves continually. But in saying this, it is important for us to put a sort of time limit on this area of focus so we avoid getting caught up in spending all of our time focusing on areas we want to improve in. We need to redirect our attention and focus on what we can do. We all have a special set of skills and strengths we bring with us in everything we do. For example, in basketball there are certain players that are solely in the game for their defensive skills as opposed to their offense skills. They are the ones when the game is tight and their team needs to stop the other team’s top player from scoring they insert them into the line up to do just that. That is their skillset. It is what they can do. They are not ever going to be looked upon as that scorer when they are average scoring two points a game but will be put into the line up when they are able to average 4 blocks a game or help to cause the other team to turnover the basketball five times. That’s their strength.

Deciding to focus on what we can do as opposed to what we cannot do allows us to continually grow into the type of leaders we aspire to be. We cannot be great in everything and we need to accept that. I certainly do and have learned to be ok with that as it is not really worth the stress to focus my efforts into areas that are just not my strong suit. And when there is something I cannot do, I try to find those people that can do it and rely on their expertise. This way it doesn’t interfere with the progression of whatever it is that either I or the team I am working alongside with are try to accomplish. We just continue to move forward in the right direction and that is what is most important.

What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards developing your responsible decision making skills?

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