In high school, I was taller and broader than most of the guys in my class, let alone the girls. Add in the extra couple of inches for the big eighties hair and that put me over the six foot mark. That was the time of Nike Legends and Levi’s 501 Blues, which were never quite long enough for my legs, but thankfully the fashionable high-tops, paired with the much-coveted slouch socks, covered the gap.
Shoulder pads were big during that time too but fairly unnecessary with my particular build. Not quite linebacker status, but definitely swimmer worthy, even though volleyball was my sport of choice.
Put together, I learned quickly that one size does not fit all, no matter what the label or the packaging says. Someone six inches short than me might put on a one sized item and look absolutely fabulous, but on me, it’s not quite long enough in the leg or the body, or it doesn’t fit quite right in the width, around the bust or in the shoulders. And it fits my shoulders, it surely doesn’t fit my waist. In short (a kind of ironic choice of words, I know), it doesn’t quite work.
I have to say this echos my life experience as well. Whether it’s diet programs, business, productivity, exercise, health practices, stress relief, therapy, you name it. These programs are supposed to work for anyone who applies them and yet they don’t work for all, or at the very least, not to the same extent for each.
Just look up the statistics on diets, even the best of them, and it’s a sad story indeed. It shows perfectly that the cookie cutter approach to anything will work for some, but definitely not for all.
Then when it doesn’t work, we usually enter into some form of guilt or shame, making ourselves feel “less than” because we can’t seem to work a simple system into our lives and get the astounding as-advertised results, usually only achieved by 1% of the participants.
Here’s a truth: no two people are alike.
No shocker there, right? Even identical twins have differences in experiences, personalities and the way they see the world and themselves in it. So why should we expect to get exactly the same results as someone else when we are older or younger, taller or shorter, live in different places, have different preferences, or businesses of different types….you get the drift.
What if we’re looking at this in the wrong way?
What if instead of thinking of this as an all or none kind of thing, we think about it in more of a grazing effect kind of way?
Just like one food isn’t going to fully nourish us, or one relationship won’t fulfill our every need (sorry if those are spoiler alerts) one cookie cutter program isn’t going to work perfectly in all cases, for all people, at all times. But certainly, some parts will.
So what if we go in knowing that, and look instead for the things we can use. We we take a piece of this here and a piece of that there and put our hands together to make something that works for the individual. For me. For you.
If it all works — bonus! But if it doesn’t, pick and choose what works in each program and apply that. One step toward better, even if it’s a baby step, is still better.
Maybe Keto doesn’t work for you but you found a new love for avocados. Add them into your diet for healthy fats.
Getting up at 4:30am everyday isn’t your gig but you realize giving yourself an extra 15 minutes before you have to leave the house saves you a world of stress. Reset that alarm, my friend!
Maybe sitting still to meditate for 20 minutes is more than you can handle but you learn that you can get the same benefits from a walk in the park, painting or from journaling instead. Do the one that works for you and give your brain that much needed break.
It doesn’t have to be all or none. Life just isn’t like that. It’s like a buffet of unlimited choices. You get to try them all and use the things that work for you.
In the words of Garth Brooks, “Failure isn’t failure if a lesson from it’s learned.”
Life is just a whole series of learning moments. Let’s stop with the one size fits all approach to anything and start picking and choosing the best of the best, on our own terms.