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“You only have your thoughts and dreams ahead of you.  You are someone.  You mean something”

–Batman


We all have a superpower.  We are all special and have at least one extraordinary gift that can be tapped into to do amazing things.  Most of the time it is a blessing, but occasionally this ability becomes a huge burden.  All of us have that one skill that they really excel at, that for some reason it comes just naturally to do them, and with that God-given ability, they must accept and learn to perfect.  Being super isn’t only for the few unique ones, it exists within everyone, just some people are better than others, and these powers are not unique in this world.  Some of you out there excel at music, art, talking, salesmanship, and solving puzzles, while others are adept at sports and competition.  For me though, my power is one that is useful, scary, and sometimes unpredictable.  I know what people are going to say or do before they even do it.

I may not see the future or read their mind’s, but I am very empathetic of the people who I’m with and channel their emotions.  This is all I need.

I have become really good at predicting behavior and what people are going to say before I make my first move.  In board games, I am able to see many moves into the future and plan my attacks accordingly.  I am able to see paths to victory (or loss) and make moves to maximize my chances of winning.  At work, in meetings and in discussions, I can sense the questions that will be asked before they even know they are going to ask them, so I am prepared to answer those queries, and then eventually lead them back to my way of thinking.  I am able to feel the emotions of the room, and change tone, complexity, and direction of conversations so that time isn’t wasted when everyone doesn’t seem to keep up.  I don’t spend time asking questions or discussing topics where the answer is already known because time is the most essential and limited resource we have.  Cannot waste it.

I can attribute a great deal of my success and confidence to being able to effectively utilize my ability.

This mighty superpower, at times, makes me believe that soon I will be getting a letter from Charles Xavier himself, asking me to join his special school.  Maybe even teach a class or two.  Hello Rogue, how are you doing?

I can also attribute a great deal of my failures and insecurities to utilizing my ability.

I tend to, at times, just not ask questions or pursue certain paths.  Is it calculated decision, yes.  Is it right, absolutely not.  I already have my mind made up on what their response is going to be, and I have to make the decision if it is worth trying to change their mind or is it even worth pursuing.  By skipping the step of actually asking because it feels like a no, I get caught trying to bring people to the same destination through influence or sheer will.    In controlled environments (work, board games, basketball court) I am pretty successful, as the variables are limited and situations are governed by rules.  You have to play inside the box.  When I apply this to my personal life or with my parents, it has done everything it can to explode in my face.

No one really ever plays by a set known of rules, especially ones that I understand all the time.

As a shy, introverted kid growing up, I did everything I could to avoid disappointment and confrontation.  I never wanted to hear no, and definitely did not want to have the “discussion” with my parents on why I want to do something.  Especially, since the answer was ALWAYS no, and they would NEVER change their mind.  I would avoid this situation as if it were the plague, and instead of asking, I would just tell my friends I couldn’t do it.  I missed out on games, adventures, parties, road trips, and experiences all because I “knew” my dad wouldn’t agree to it.  It never felt right.

Looking back, I literally avoided life because of how I percieved the emotions of the room.  I did not ever have the good, because I was unable to risk the bad.  Fear forced me to miss out on so many experiences.

Never again.

When Caleb was born, my life changed in so many ways, but the big thing was that I gained clarity.  I had focus.  I knew that nothing was going to get in the way of what was best for him and that I would remain truthful and direct with my intentions.  I not only needed to become a better person for myself, but to be an example for my son.  No matter how things felt or who was standing in my way, I knew what I had to do.  This moment changed me for the better, as I needed to find the balance between knowing what people will do and being afraid of getting the answer.  The decision to be confident in yourself is important, but adding the desire to go out and get what you need, opened up a whole new world of possibilities.   I learned to remain empathetic, but not be afraid to ask for things that I wasn’t in control of getting myself.  I no longer could just assume the answer, but needed to ask and get a response to really justify my follow-on actions.  Even a no response, wouldn’t stop me, but when I did get that yes it sure made my life so much easier.

I saw that if I never asked the question, I was already accepting no as the answer.  What I figured out, that I was accepting loss before even trying.  Therefore, I automatically eliminating any chance of getting a yes.   I was always playing from behind.  What was even more dumb, there were so many times that I was completely surprised by the answer.  A response that I never accepted to get.  I learned that I don’t know everything, I am not the smartest person, I can’t control everything, and that I need help.  I honestly learned that I am my own kryptonite.

Just ask the question!

I have been working with Caleb his entire life, as our ability seems to be genetic in nature.  I see in him those things that held me back.  He just accepts what is given to him, no matter how he feels.  Even being upset, or wanting to get anything different, he would rather just deal with it and avoid the confrontation then to focus on getting what he needs and wants.  I know how he feels, and I push my way into his emotional cave and draw out of him his desires, and guide him down the path of asking and fighting for himself.  And even if he gets that negative answer, he knows that I am alongside him.  I am on his team.

He knows that he has to ask, and not just give up with an initial no, but keep pressing.  He sees me doing it, and he works real hard keeping that drive in his own life.  Even with a no a couple of times, I have shown him to stop “banging his head against the wall” and find a different way to the yes.  We never quit, and we fight for what we think is right.  I guess we are Goonies too!

Most of the time I have seen him grow right in front of my eyes, he has embraced all the traits and good behaviors that have taken me decades to bring together.  But there are those moments, where he is a window to my past.  I know he needs to grow on his own and become his own person, but he needs to be taught as much as possible so that he does have something to fall back on when he does hit that first no, that he can’t accept.

I have taught him to always ask.  Never be afraid of rejection.  Never give up fighting for what you believe in.  And if you are doing and wanting things with good intentions and a good heart, we have nothing to fear.  Because ultimately God will bring to you, on His own time, what is meant to be.  If you want something bad enough, you have to fight for it.  God loves an underdog!

 

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