There is an ancient story about a man who, one dark night, has lost his keys and is looking for them under a lamppost. Another man approaches and, learning of the man’s problem, offers to help locate the missing keys. The helper asks, “Where were you when you dropped them?” The man points to a grassy area about 30 feet away in the dark. “I don’t understand. If you dropped your keys over there, why aren’t we looking for them in that area?” asks the bewildered helper. The man replies, “Because the light is so much better over here under the lamppost!”
I love this story for it points out the difficulty we all have in accepting things as they are instead of how we wish they would be. A lot of time is wasted pursuing things that ultimately can’t pay off because they don’t align with reality. We will never find our keys where they aren’t located no matter how bright the light.
There is an expression that holds a lot of wisdom for me, “Stick to your knitting.” It means stick to what you know and what you are good at. How often have we disconnected from our true purpose to pursue some hare-brained scheme or taken on some project because it seems to offer an easy path to success. I have nothing against becoming rich nor do I have a problem with things that are easy, it’s just that to be really successful we have to be centered in who we are and stick to those things (our knitting) that allow is to express our gifts and strengths. The lure of easy money and instant success often takes us into areas and situations far removed from our core competencies and in the end, don’t feel easy at all.
Ultimately, knowing ourselves deeply, recognizing what we were born to do and pursuing that which we love will bring us true success, happiness and fulfillment. The success may not be instant but we’ll feel good along the journey.
I’d love to hear your comments on what “sticking to your knitting” means to you.