I Can Do Anything (Except This)

I love beautiful penmanship. Cursive or printing, it doesn’t matter. When I get a note or a review a contract with handsome letters, I feel happy.

And maybe a little jealous.

My writing has always been terrible. Way back in grade school teachers would complain that they couldn’t read my assignments. More recently, friends and co-workers would joke about me writing in a secret code only I could decipher.

I’ve always believed that I could accomplish almost anything I set my mind to. But I also believed that some things were just hardwired, that there were some areas where I just couldn’t grow.

And my messy, illegible handwriting was one of those areas. I truly believed that my hands were physically incapable of making letters that were neat and tidy.

But writing My Instruction Manual has made me rethink some of my old assumptions. So I asked my Facebook and LinkedIn contacts whether an adult who has always been a messy writer could learn to write (or print) neatly.

A few friends referred me to online resources.

Christina, a teacher I know from university, provided some tips she uses with little kids:

…[b]asically always pull down when you are making a letter and pull back and around.  For an ‘l’, go from pull down. For an ‘a’, pull back and around. Getting the right movements might be part of it just like weightlifting too:)

My friend Ben taught himself to write more neatly and shared how he did it:

I started to think of my penmanship as more like little “drawings.” This made me appreciate what I was doing more, so it made me more mindful. … I think the combination of practice, and being mindful about how I wanted my characters (aka “drawings”) to look is what helped me for both my writing and printing.

So I decided to give it a try.

And it’s working!

The other day my wife saw something I had written and asked who wrote it. The change was so dramatic, she couldn’t believe it was me.

See for yourself.

Here’s before. Keep in mind that this is me trying to write neatly in my bullet journal.

writing1

And here’s today:

writing21.jpg

I wouldn’t say my writing is beautiful, not yet, but it has become legible. And as I work at it, it continues to improve.

I recently wrote here about how human happiness depends on growth. And I wrote here about how I overcame my belief that I was too old to make new friends.

It’s not enough to believe we can accomplish almost anything. We need to believe we can accomplish anything. There are always going to be exceptions. I’m never going to give birth or become a Major League pitcher. But the list of what we can’t accomplish is much smaller than we might assume.

So here’s an exercise to try.

Make a list of some things you always wished you could do but believed you couldn’t. Not just the things you haven’t made time for (those are easy), but the things you truly believe you don’t have the mental or physical capabilities to do.

And make a decision to try one of them.

Scroll down to the comments and let me know if you’re taking my challenge.

5 comments

  1. Your determination is inspiring! Congrats on your drastic improvement. I guess one of the things I’d put down on my list is playing an instrument. Lately I’ve been inspired to try violin, so I might just go for it!

    ~ A.R.
    rosearianna.com

    Liked by 2 people

  2. For me, it’s all about my motive and mindset. About eight years ago I took up the guitar. I expected to be able to pick it up right away. I imagined myself performing within weeks of my first lession. When it proved to be tougher than I expected I quit. A year and a half ago I took up kickboxing. I expected to suck and, while I wouldn’t say I rock at it, I can do most of it and I feel proud of trying. I go 3 times a week and every class I try to do a bit more – one more burpie, a harder punch. The difference is I’m doing it for me and I have adjusted my expectations accordingly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right Sara. We’re always more successful when we focus on the things we’re most interested in. I see it now with my teenage son. He’s never motivated for school work, but he spends hours teaching himself philosophy through YouTube or learning how to type through online courses.

      Like

  3. For me, it’s all about my motive and mindset. About eight years ago I took up the guitar. I expected to be able to pick it up right away. I imagined myself performing within weeks of my first lession. When it proved to be tougher than I expected I quit. A year and a half ago I took up kickboxing. I expected to suck and, while I wouldn’t say I rock at it, I can do most of it and I feel proud of trying. I go 3 times a week and every class I try to do a bit more – one more burpie, a harder punch. The difference is I’m doing it for me and I have adjusted my expectations accordingly.

    Liked by 2 people

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