No stoplight ever actually stopped a driver. It’s just a light, after all, and it’s all the way up there in the air. You can literally drive right under it and it won’t do anything except maybe glare at you with extra red as you pass by. (Unless you have a very tall car, I mean.)
Brick walls, on the other hand, tend to be fairly substantial and have no qualms about JACKING YOU UP if you try to drive through them.
It’s not unusual for us to find ourselves confronted by a few stoplights when we’re trying to do something new. They can be useful indicators of when we need to slow down, or when we need to take a break.
But sometimes it’s tempting to pretend a stoplight is a brick wall. Because it makes it easier to quit.
It’s not my fault! I tried my hardest, but darn it I got there and the light was red and it just stayed red AND I WAITED SO LONG, so what was I supposed to do besides turn right on red and drive all the way to some other place I didn’t want to be? IT WAS RED. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
Well … sometimes running a red light might not be such a bad idea. You slowed down. You checked all directions. There were no cars coming. There’s definitely not a police officer sitting behind you. Go ahead. Run the light. It’s just a light, after all. Use that sentence fragment! Mix those two colors that are so outdated! Take that sentimental picture! Write that story that’s “just genre fiction”!
(That’s a metaphorical red light, of course. I absolutely do not suggest, recommend, or endorse the violation of traffic laws at any point in time ever at all, Mr. Officer, sir.)
But brick walls? Usually the faster you charge at them to take them down, the more you’ll end up damaging yourself. Brick walls require us to change course. Sometimes we just need to take a detour to go around and approach our destination from a different direction. Sometimes, along the way we find a new, better destination.
As tough as it may be to admit, there are things in life that will never work out no matter how hard we work at them. Or worse, they will kind of limp along in a broken and increasingly frustrating state for as long as we’re willing to give them our time and attention. And they might be things that we really and truly want. And usually they are things that we really and truly aren’t built to do.
It’s a hard truth that most of us can’t actually be WILDLY SUCCESSFUL at anything we put our minds to.
I could study quantum physics for the rest of my life, and no matter how much I applied myself, I would never be as good a quantum physicist as the people that are naturally wired to understand that particular field. Which is why I think we can all agree that quantum physics is stupid and only for nerds!
The trick is learning to tell the difference between stoplights and brick walls. The sooner you can recognize which one you’re facing, the quicker you can adapt your strategy for overcoming it.
And once you are WILDLY SUCCESSFUL, you can totally waggle your various accolades in the faces of all those quantum physicists and make them spill their juice on their pants because nerds!
(I actually think quantum physicists are incredible people.)
(Because I’m a nerd.)