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Taking Our Measure

“The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor: he took my measure anew every time he saw me, whilst all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me.”

“When you go to heaven, Ann, you will be frightfully conscious of your wings for the first year or so. When you meet your relatives there, and they persist in treating you as if you were still a mortal, you will not be able to bear them. You will try to get into a circle which has never known you except as an angel.” – Jack Tanner in George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman

These two quotes from Shaw’s fascinating play Man and Superman resonate with anyone who has tried to shed the preconceptions that those who knew us “then” have about what we’re capable of “now”. We all grow, yet there’s a lag time for those who might measure our fit based on the person we used to be. This is one reason people job hop or move far from home. If you leave your old identity behind, you free yourself to be whatever you want to be in the place where you land.

Of course, one person we never leave behind is ourselves. If we aren’t aligned with a belief in our future potential we’ll never reach it. What is left of us then but incremental improvement? That’s not a leap forward at all, but a slow shuffle across our brief time.

When we grow we no longer fit into that old character we used to be. We must adjust our own expectations of what is possible, take a deep breath and leap towards our greater potential. And if necessary find a circle that believes in our present potential instead of clinging to our limited past.

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