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Getting things in proportion

On Sunday I was on a plane when a group of Amazons boarded.
I was quite surprised. At first I thought that recently writing a short story set in ancient Greece had created a rip in the space/time continuum through which the Amazons had fallen through, all of them young, fit (in the we work out sense) and over six foot. However, their identical blue track suits betrayed the fact that they were in fact not a mythological group of all female warriors but the University of Dayton women’s basketball team. Apparently on the way home from a successful tour of Italy (well done them). I know that because the pilot made sure everyone knew (cue applause). I love this about the US. If this had been a UK flight you might possibly have had a slight ripple of clapping; but the poor girls would have shrunk, embarrassed into their seats. The Dayton Flyers took it in their long strides.
And why shouldn’t they? After all, the one thing they couldn’t do was to try and hide in their seats.
Because the bottom line is that they poor girls could hardly fit in the Delta economy seats. Some of them could fold themselves up a little better than others but some of them looked dreadfully uncomfortable.
For not the first time in my life I was happy to be average/below average height. I felt sorry for the girls in this situation; I do not like to see anybody being uncomfortable.
I know a lot of people – mostly women – who wish they were taller. I have never really understood this. As a man I would like to have grown a bit more (up, rather than out which is unfortunately more the case) but airplane seats, being able to drive sports cars, and not braining myself on low doorways have suggested that there is nothing bad about being average to short in stature. But I do understand that the image we have thrown at us does suggest a norm that in reality is not the case.
However, I also felt quite proud of these Amazons. Because at their height they possess one of the natural gifts for something like basket ball, and I think it is a fundamental to our happiness to come to terms with our limitations and embrace our strengths. I would never be – before we even talk about my fitness I am just too short. If anything, I’m a rugby build (but lack the aggression and commitment). But we all have talents.
Those can be physical or academic or something in between; let’s call that one attitude and outlook. One of the things that I have had a huge amount of satisfaction from in recent years is finding a role in life related to the encouragement of others.
I am never going to be an outstanding sportsman. I am quite useless when presented with a musical instrument. I have managed to get by in academic studies but lack the application even there to perhaps do as well as I could have. However, if feedback is to be believed, I am pretty good at boosting others..
I am utterly convinced that everyone, everyone, has real skills and talents and with some development can excel and feel good about themselves. The problem is finding those talents. For some it is route one, and I know a lot of really bright, talented, skilful people where some of their abilities, at least, are blatantly obvious. For these people it is more are they making the most of those gifts rather than finding out what they are.
For the others it is harder. At this time of exam results it is very easy to think of yourself as a failure if you’ve missed the target and while obviously it is disappointments if that happens but you just have to get over it and move on. Because somewhere there is something better waiting… But you have to find it. It isn’t a case of one door closes, another opens. You have to go and keep trying the doors (and giving them a good shoulder charge as well, as sometimes they may be unlocked but need a little encouragement to actually open.)
Anybody not happy with the current situation should be encouraged to try new things and take risks. To put aside the Plan A that seems to be the path everyone is encouraged to go down regardless and wander down another track instead. Be creative if Plan A isn’t working. If you don’t think you are creative – find someone who is to help and let them throw ideas at you and catch them with an open but discerning mind.
And my role in this is to wipe the brow, hand you a gourmet sandwich and then give an almighty shove down the path you have found, while trundling along behind in the support van (just in case).

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