Remember the Day You Couldn’t

16 Feb

No one was born talking or walking, capable of holding their head up or microwaving their dinner. We all had humble roots.

And yet we forget it.

It happened to me in the MIT gym today.  The place is archaic and nerdy and adorable.  It’s probably the only gym that, instead of a sign saying “Wear enough clothing (shoes, shirts)” has a sign saying “Wear less clothing (no jeans, khakis or sandals on treadmills)”.  I saw someone try to wear Crocs on an elliptical.  Professors wearing shorts that were short even in the 70’s.  A girl chilled out reading “Busy Brides” while “stretching” on her mat.  A lot of MIT students intimidated by the free weights and mechanized weights and bosu balls and foam rollers.  And not one, but two, graphing calculators propped up on treadmills and stationary bikes.  You never know when a graphing emergency will hit you.

I found it very amusing.  And kinda sweet.  But the truth is that there was a day when free weights and mechanized weights and pulleys and aerobic steps were all new to me.  And I didn’t know how to use them.  I wanted to learn. But I was afraid everyone would see me for the newbie that I was.

Before I ran 39 miles, I ran 1 mile. Before that, I ran around the block.  Before that, I walked.

Before I learned to bike with traffic in the heart of Boston, the thought scared me to death.  There was a day when I couldn’t write in cursive.  A day when I couldn’t drive a car.  A day when I couldn’t look at clowns.  Okay, that day is today.

For every person staring at “I can’t” there is another person celebrating their “I learned”.  Learning leads to doing.  Everyone has to be a student before they can be an instructor.  So the next time you try to teach long division or how to knit or the art of parallel parking, remember that there was a day you couldn’t.  But now you can.

And there was a day when couldn’t bled into did.  A past failing or ignorance met a future hope or goal and became a present achievement.

It’s time to drop the n’t and help people move from couldn’t to could.  From didn’t to did.  From haven’t to has.

I took the road less traveled.  The one that challenged me to grow.  And that made all the difference.

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