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Aiming for the Wrong Targets

I’m digging my new teacher gig. It’s challenging in so many ways, and mostly the good ways.

Ask me about making copies, and I’ll tell you stories that would be examples of something that is challenging in the bad ways…

One thing I’ve been thinking about, though, is aiming low. You see, I often have students who want to quickly cruise through their work without thinking about it too much. Or they just don’t want to do it at all.

My response to them? Never aim low. Aim high!!

Their response to me, “But if I aim low, Miss, I’ll never be disappointed.”

My response to them has been that if you aim low you end up leading a disappointing life.

I don’t think it’s sinking in…

But I do think I’m right. 

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Les Brown agrees with me.

 People might not realize it, but I used to be one of those who aimed low and hit.

Right out of high school, I joined an engineering program at a university. (I realize this isn’t exactly aiming low. Wait for it…) When I failed out/dropped out, I thought I was a failure. I thought it so much that I lived it for a long time. No one overtly said it, but I felt it was implied that I wasn’t good enough.

I aimed low and worked retail jobs, tended bar, served at restaurants, worked as secretaries at different places even though I knew those things weren’t what I wanted from my life…

The cycle persisted in my marriage. I silenced and censored myself to fit in with what I thought my ex- wanted. Sometimes he didn’t want to go somewhere with me. I wouldn’t go, and oh, I didn’t really want to go that badly anyway… Sometimes he would make sarcastic little jabs about this or that. I would tell myself that they didn’t really hurt my feelings. They were just jokes after all… 

I aimed low by thinking my voice, my wants and needs, weren’t so important.

So much has changed since those days. I’ve earned my self-esteem back. I realize that my early failure as a chemical engineer or a wife didn’t make me a failure at life.

I’ve learned my voice is important. I’ve learned that my wants and needs are important too! I’ve learned that I am enough, flaws and all.

Yes, I missed those targets involved with becoming an engineer and being a “good wife” to my ex. I aimed high for those targets, and I missed.

But I missed because I was aiming for the wrong targets!

I wasn’t supposed to be an engineer. My ex- wasn’t who I was supposed to be with for the long haul.

And yet, if I hadn’t aimed for those targets, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today. Perhaps I never would have begun my path of self-discovery that has showed me the importance of challenging myself personally, intellectually, physically, and artistically.

If I hadn’t aimed for those targets, perhaps I would have gotten stuck in a rut even earlier, and I’d still be living a life of complacency and mediocrity…

The things I aim for may be the “wrong” things at the time, but those wrong things can take you to the right place.

Those wrong things have taken me to the right places.

Oh, yes. I would much rather aim high. The view is so much more spectacular…

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