“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
I remember being in a grade school math class once and always used to get so silently frustrated when classmates would ask what seemed like questions with such obvious answers. I always felt the material was easy. How could they not get it? What was so hard about algebra and geometry? I did not get how they did not understand it.
As I began my first year of coaching, I spent a day in the field during an intersquad. While playing, I realized that I had neglected to teach my players a lot of important things that I had always taken for granted. These things were taught to me when I was younger and were things that I just expected my players to already know. How could they not know?
What I failed to realize was one really important thing? They are not me.
I am not trying to make the point that I am better than my old classmates or the players I coached. On the contrary, I learned that each person has his own qualities that he brings to the table. Some people are math people, some people are better writers, and some are good at science or research. For me, math and baseball were things that I picked up on quickly. Writing and basketball, for me, took work.
I think one of the biggest reasons that we have a problem with the way people do things is that we expect them to be us. We get frustrated because people do not drive how we drive so they are in our way. We poke fun at people who do not dress like us. We become irritated when we feel others do not know what we think they should know (translation: they do not know what we know).
Everyone is their own person. They all have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. They each bring something different to the table. We must respect and understand these differences. When they do not understand, we must take time to explain it. We must show patience and compassion. But most importantly, we must allow them to be themselves.
We cannot expect someone to be something that they are not. We can only help them become the best version of themselves. We must respect the individuality of each other and not hold them to unfair expectations based on our own personal biases.
Remember this the next time you judge someone for not knowing what you know. Keep it in mind when you mock someone for speaking differently than you do. Have an open mind when shares a difference of opinion or likes a peculiar mixture of food that they love.
A fish is just a fish. We cannot give it wings to make it fly. We can only encourage it and teach it to be the best and fastest swimming fish it can be.
Bring your best today!