I’m not good at most things. I wasn’t good at baseball. I wasn’t good at dancing. I REALLY wasn’t good at math. In fact, if I made a list of the things I am good at, and a list of the things I am bad at. The “bad at” list would be overwhelming; the good list. . . not so much.
I always thought of myself as devoid of talent. Things were difficult for me. All of the things. I had to work, sweat, and claw my way to any sort of proficiency at anything I did. Nothing came easy. Truthfully, it jaded me. I saw my peers taking to activities like fish to water. Seeming to be able to “swim” with little to no effort. Whether it was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, math, sales, talking to girls, or writing — someone else was better at it than I was in half the time.
It makes you re-think a lot of things. I thought perhaps I had just never found my “thing”. That somewhere out there was some activity that was tailor made for me. That I would try once, see the heavens open, and hear god speak to me. So, I tried a lot of things. I had more majors than most. I played every sport imaginable. I wore different clothes and tried to reinvent myself at every opportunity. With the hope that somewhere out there I would find my purpose, find my gift, find my special thing. It never happened.
However, I had a conversation once with my older sister that shed some light on my situation. She offered an outside perspective. She told me that my “thing”, my superpower, was getting up when pushed down. That I had persistence. To a stupid degree. She said she had seen me get pushed down in the mud over and over and over and over again and somehow get up. She said I was bullheaded and stubborn. That I stuck with things when others might have quit. Not because I had some hope of succeeding or that I could see the finish line, but because I knew nothing else than to get up.
It’s true. But, still hard to hear. For many years I equated this talent for “getting up” as making me nothing more than a punching bag. That I was simply around for God or the universe to make life difficult for and then do it all again the next day. I resented this gift, or curse, I had. Why couldn’t I have had something like a knack for public speaking or being an amazing painter.
I realized though, after many years, that my “superpower” was actually the best superpower. I could have anything I wanted with it. Through my bullheadedness I could force my way to excellence in any endeavor I chose. Like a man with a brick wall blocking his path who just walks into the wall over and over and over again until he is on the other side. I won’t break through on the first try, or even the hundredth. But sooner or later I will get to the other side.
Cause I always get up.