Since finishing The Curse of the Capable (1st edition) about a year ago, and now talking about it with lost of people, I continue to understand what “the curse” is, and how it plays in our “crazy” lives today.
The Curse, is a mental state where talented people mask their vulnerabilities through their capabilities. We refer to the curse when people are trying very hard in their efforts to achieve and perform to win the respect and love of other people. What happens when you try your very hardest and yet you still can’t attain the healthy, balanced life you long for? What happens when you don’t understand the reasons your life is not satisfying? You feel Cursed! You’re disappointed you’re not living the life you thought all your hard work would bring, and you’re feeling run down in the process – Arthur P Ciaramicoli (Dr C).
You can learn more about the curse here.
I have spent a great deal of time, both in the co-writing of the book and in my life in general, getting free of that curse that drove me non stop for so many years (despite living a a relatively healthy lifestyle focused on fitness and nutrition) and learning what gave rise to it. After all, besides being caught up in poor lifestyle habits (not sleeping, addictive eating and erratic exercise habits etc) why do think it’s so hard to live a balanced and healthy life?
It’s because of how we are thinking, which is driving the way we live (work) and achieve our goals. Why we are living (achieving) the way that we are?
What’s driving you?
But there is a sister dynamic to the story (s) that are running in your head; a dynamic that can take you by storm and control your life, particularly if you are running stories of heroism as I like to say, (performance addiction) in your head. The theme of the book “your story” is intermingled with a modern day phenomena of our performance culture. It’s a dynamic that can really cause a problem, particularly for highly capable people who may not have a strong personal foundation and need the praise they get for how much they accomplish and achieve to feel good about themselves.
Don’t take it so personal, the above could describe a huge percentage of the population, including most high achievers, and sure has described me for many years.
It’s the secret dependency of others on you.
Because you are that capable.
Have you ever been stroked for how great you are, how much you can get done, how amazing your power is etc?
Well the compliment is likely authentic and true, but hidden in there is a little dependency on you.
It goes like this:
People (your boss, your friends, your family, your coworkers) tell you…”You are so incredibly capable; yeah, you can do it like no one else I’ve every seen, you are so amazing…” What they are also saying is... “do more, I am depending on you to do more, to get it done, and I will support you…”
Now I guess a certain amount of this is OK, but when it becomes how you identify, you’ve got a problem on your hands. This is when the curse of the capable, really takes it’s hold in my experience; it’s the potential for you to go way outside your edge and try to live into that praise.
Do you like to hear how capable you are? Do you think stuff like, its its going to get done, or done right, I’ve got to do it?…
That’s your story, not theirs!
People will read right from your script, and it is that story that will determine how others depend on you and relate with you. Are you longing to hear it how capable you are. Do you do more and more to hear it it more? Have you identified as the person who drives, get’s it done, makes it happen?
I don’t think there is anything wrong with recognizing your capabilities and being someone who get’s stuff done, but I have realized over time, studying lifestyle and why people end up overwhelmed, exhausted and overweight… that the supports and the boundaries need to be established.
The old saying, “If it is to be, it’s up to me” has value, but it’s also a trap!
It can’t be all up to you, it needs to be up to you and a team of people (if the endeavor is significant) working together, or down you go.
Here’s the question I have; how is is working out to have so much and perhaps so many dependent on you without enough support? Believe me, I have allot of experience with this; I played into that script for years; to the point of sacrificing my own life!
It gave me power, control and probably other stuff, but it still sucked the life right out me…
Are you sacrificing your life – the time for things other than work and an inordinate amount of energy over and beyond your capacity?
You can’t live in balance with vibrant health and peace of mind, if you have that story, or some version of it, driving you.
Filed Under: Change Your Story