In The Road Less Traveled, Scott Peck shares a story about how he considered himself a “mechanical idiot” who was inept at fixing household appliances, cars, bicycles, and such.
One day, he shared his admiration for a neighbor who was fixing his lawn mower with a self-deprecating compliment – “Boy, I sure admire you. I’ve never been able to fix these kinds of things.”
“That’s because you don’t take the time.” – the neighbor replied.
Sure enough, the next time there was an issue with a patient’s parking brake, he took the time to work through the jumble of wires and tubes and rods. A few minutes in, he found the one latch that seemed to be preventing the break from being released.
He was no longer a mechanical idiot.
This story resonated deeply with me. There were so many stories I made up about my inadequacy growing up as a way to get out of trying. I’ve since learnt to do better and have come to appreciate the common factors in getting good at anything – intention, attention, effort, and reflection.
If you care, put in the effort.