When we are born, we have so much to learn, but wanting something seems to just be a part of who we are. When a baby wants something, they just go for it. If they are restrained, they cry until someone helps them get it. If that doesn’t work, they cry louder. If that doesn’t work, they scream. They can be relentless. They don’t question if it is possible or not. They just want and keep doing that until they find a way or someone helps them get what they want. When did we lose that?
Picture a baby spotting something it wants across a room. What do they do to get it? Everything they can think of! As adults, we have more capacity to think and more creativity to draw from, yet our own brains limit our desire and actions. Why?
When I was born, I was born with a clubfoot. If you are unfamiliar, it is a birth defect that effects about 1 in 1,000 babies. It means that when you are born, your heel is turned downward and the front part of your foot is turned inward. There is no known cause, but mom’s Catholic guilt was present, making her feel like somehow it was her fault. Back in the 1960s, many doctors did not want to do anything for me until I was a teenager. My mom was relentless until she found Dr. Karin who would treat me. It was surgery, casts and over-stretching for years to straighten it out.
I was operated on at an early age. I wore a cast for a long time and as a result my left foot did not develop and grow as quickly. This forced me to have to get special shoes in two different sizes for many years. I also had to wear a metal bar between my two feet which forced my left foot to be slowly twisted to it’s proper position. It kind of worked the way that braces slowly straighten your teeth.
Being transparent, I only have fleeting memories of those times, but my mom, like any mother, will never forget watching her child struggle. I’m sure it was hard for her to watch. She also will not forget the small triumphs along the way. Those small victories that are cherished and warm the heart.
As an adult, my family tells me stories of how when I wanted something, it did not matter that I was wearing a cast as an infant. I just crawled after it, dragging my little cast behind me. What was your “cast” when you were growing up? Was it visible like mine or invisible like many?
The bigger question is, how did we start learning not to walk or crawl after that thing we really want? If someone told us back then, “no” we wouldn’t listen. We would want to spend more time with those people who are giving the ideas and strategies to get there and stop listening to those who say, “No.” If you are a Least Likely, then this is the mindset we need to get back to. We need to run, walk or crawl for what we want. We need to make it our mission to go after what we want and drag our cast with us. The baby doesn’t worry about how long it takes to get what it wants. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says to the baby as it just crawls forward.
Picture a group of adults in a large room with lush carpeting all intent and focused in conversations. On the floor you see an infant wearing a cast, who spots a shiny red ball far across the room. The infant doesn’t even think, it just starts moving. The seemingly wise adults are discussing and researching why this infant, me, was born with a club foot. While they were conversing, I reached out with my little left hand to grab more carpet in front of me to help full me forward. While others were discussing what I would not be able to do, I brought my little knee forward to my other hand. While some were feeling bad for me and looking on in sorrow, I was reaching with my right hand for another handful of carpet to grasp. While people were whispering about me, I brought my other knee forward. While people were discussing how unfortunate I was, I dragged my cast behind me.
Attention adults, stop yapping and kick the ball closer or, better yet, look at your own life as to why you are not moving towards your own shiny red ball. We train the child these ridiculous limiting things. We train kids not to dream. Why? Because it’s not realistic. That is for other people. Which often times can be true unless you develop the Least Likely Mindset. It starts by thinking like that infant.
My friend and mentor, Mike Rayburn asked a young audience of his if they thought there was discrimination, sexism, racism, and injustice in the past? They replied, “Yes.” Do you think there is discrimination, sexism, racism, and injustice today? They replied, “Yes.” Do you think there is discrimination, sexism, racism, and injustice in the future? “Yes,” again. Mike said, “What does that mean to you, personally?” Succeed anyway!
Once you discover your cast, acknowledge it, and lean forward and grab a fist full of carpet and pull. While others talk and discuss, grab another fist full and pull.
Lessons to consider?
What if not knowing we shouldn’t is the first lesson of the Least Likely?
What do you take from this?
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