Back when I was in my core, general education classes for my degree, I had to take Psychology 101. I thought it was interesting enough, but one of the main theories I learned and have carried with me since taking that class 5 years ago, was the concept of the “wooden leg”. We all have a “wooden leg”, something we blame that is keeping us from being successful. Successful in life, our goals, whether they’re big or small. Here’s a better explanation so you can better understand the concept: Let’s say I have two legs and I lost one and it was replaced with a wooden leg. I want to get in shape, but can’t because I only like to run and I can’t run because of my wooden leg. I would like to get a better job but people who interview me judge me because I have a wooden leg. If I didn’t have a wooden leg I would be more fit, more succesful in love, my job and I would be happier. I am cursed because of my wooden leg.
Now, think about your own personal “wooden leg”. Is it your sex, your age, your race, your position at work, your educational level, it can be any number of things that you tend to blame when things don’t work out for you. We all have at least one. The key is to look at yourself from an outsider’s perspective. Listen to yourself the next time you complain about something not working out. If you’re brave enough, and willing to hear the real truth, ask a good friend, family member or spouse what you complian the most about.
I have had several “wooden legs”. Everywhere from being cursed as the middle child, to not be able to afford things, to blaming my baby for making me fat and tired. Each one, though obvious to other people, were not obvious to me until I took the time to look at my life through an outsider’s perspective. Only then did I grow and change.
The very fact that you KNOW the source of your obstacle means you KNOW what the problem is and can now fix it. Let’s say you feel that you haven’t been succesful at your job because everyone is older and more experienced than you at your job. You might feel that they don’t respect you and that promotions are passing you by because of your age. The fact you are hyper focusing on your “wooden leg” being your age, you are sending that message out to those around you. By focusing on your age, you are in turn missing opportunities to grow by looking at the real reasons for your lack of growth in your company. Have you taken every possible opprtunity placed before you? Do you have a mentor? Are you sending out a negative tone to your boss? Acting immatruly therefore writing your own destiny to be told you are “too young” for soemthing?
One of my recent and recurring “wooden legs” is having an infant. When he was a newborn and I wanted to get back into shape, I would wake in the morning before my husband left for work and decide to not go to the gym because I was too tired. My husband helped by taking care of our baby at night so I wouldn’t be too tired to go to the gym in the mornings. I still used the baby as an excuse that he had ruined my body, even though he wasn’t the one to make me gain so much weight. Eventually, I heard myself complaining at took measures into my own hand by finding solutions around not being able to take my baby to the gym.
Today, he is 21 months now and every so often I have a bad day and when I begin to blame my son for my bad day, I realize that he is a baby. I am the adult and cannot rationalize with him because he doesn’t understand. I complained about not having “me” time for so long that I finally have many solutions. I take a day “off” once a week and spend the day alone or with friends. I joined play groups. I found a local babysitter. My husband takes my son from the moment he gets home from work until the morning. I still feel irritated when I can’t just make a decision without planning around my son, buy that is the realize of being a parent- responsibility. It makes my time alone that much more relaxing and my time with my son that much more enjoyable.
Believe me that I know how hard it is to take a good, hard look at yourself and admit that you’re making excuses for your bad behavior or that you are playing the blame game. Remember in order to move forward and achieve your goals you must take a look at yourself and discover your “wooden leg”, fix the problem, stop complaining, blaming and make your goals a reality.