“A ______ is only as good as their tools”

My momma always said that a person’s ability to solve a problem was dependent on the quality and quantity of the tools at hand. Your innate capacity to analyze complex and abstract data will always be enhanced by the type of calculator or computer you use to to perform the operations; there is a difference between using a hammer or a brad nail to finish woodwork trim. Regardless of your level of expertise, the instruments and people you have to work with are just as important for your success. The more accurate or powerful the tool, the better.

However, there is a catch: Necessity is the mother of invention. Many creative and innovative tools and services have come from not having the right tools at the right time. It’s not always the case, and we must be quick to realize when to stop and when to push through as our misguided efforts may cause more damage than good. A talented painter can only do so much with bristleless brush. A carpenter cannot use a hammer to cut wood. Teachers are bound by the rules and materials provided by the state. Parents discipline their children as they have been, not as they should be based on personalities and age. A doctor cannot listen to your heart and cure a cold with a scalpel.

It may seem counterintuitive but we go through life with the wrong tools – the wrong degree or the wrong perspective – making the best out of our circumstances forgetting to stop, gather intel and formulate multiple paths to a viable and sustainable solution. Most of us patch up things or throw ’em away arbitrarily, using money or time as an excuse to not consider all of our options. We keep things longer than we should and we complain when we break things, like relationships, because we hurried through the process forgetting to use every tool available to us to successfully repair the damage. Patience is a skill, a tool that enables us to make the impossible possible with a little blood, sweat and grit. We are definitely only as good as our own patience allows us to be, and we must train ourselves to be resilient enough to know better.

Every profession and job has tools of the trade that advance as technology improves; every human is as great as their upbringing, nurture and environment allows. Each uniquely designed creature on this planet can only perform the tasks it was designed to do. You won’t see an elephant climbing a coconut tree like a monkey could. Why do we judge people so harshly when they fail when we didn’t provide then the tools to succeed from the get go? Are we forgetting that a _______ is only as good as their tools, as the opportunity and constraints they have to work with? We should spend more time helping people gather the knowledge, courage and wisdom to do better; the physical and mental tools required to achieve even when indifference wants to set them up for failure. Do your best to align yourself with the best possible circumstances, if you are not able to create them. Find the ideal hammer to nail down those things that matter in your life and keep it handy for future efforts.

Your results will only be as great as the contents of your toolbox will allow. Pick and choose tools that will last a lifetime.

Much success with all of your endeavors!

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