Loretta LaRoche: Sometimes we need to curb our enthusiasm

Loretta LaRoche

Over the last 30 years I have read hundreds of books about how to increase one’s potential through a myriad of processes.

I spent six years in therapy examining my family origins and how they might have had an impact on me. My intention was always to try to better myself so I could reach for the stars and “be all that I could be.”

I know many of you reading this have searched for that golden nugget of truth that could have the answer to your “stuckness.” Haven’t we been told by every major “self-help” guru that we have the capabilities to do anything we put our mind to?

I’m sure I’ve stood on the platform of good intentions trying to hawk a plethora of ways that could get you out of your rut and onto bigger and better things. Well, age and maturity have brought me to a certain consensus.

I don’t think all of us are capable of doing everything we set our minds to. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that it is a relief to know we can’t. I have the kind of personality that loves to get into something and become really good at it. Combine that with some of the you-can-do-it mentality and you have a disaster in waiting. I started playing racquetball 10 years ago and thought that in a short amount of time I would be able to ace the coach. Just write a couple of affirmations, visualize yourself on the court, and, bingo, you’re a champ. I practiced, too.

I was completely deluded. Anyone who is really good at anything not only has to put the time in, but they should also have some common sense about how they go about it.

Unfortunately, magazines and television shows are always showcasing products and individuals that are supposed to bring you to extreme states. “Become the person you always dreamed you could be!" we hear over and over. How about, “Just be OK.”

It is possible to live life joyfully and delightfully without having to do an Ironman triathlon, scale Mount Everest on your day off, or hang from the ceiling so you’ll be a few inches taller. Believe me, I’m not trying to convince you to stop dreaming, seeking or following your passions. The human condition thrives on hope.

But hope never fails us, and hope is always possible. It is the tender side of striving to excess. Emily Dickinson said it best: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune, without the words, and never stops at all.”

Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth 02360, send e-mail to getalife@lorettalaroche.com, visit the Web site at www.stressed.com, or call toll-free 800-99-TADAH (82324).