Day 1126: You can’t be good at everything

The title of this post

You can’t be good at everything

is something my ex-business partner, Jonathan, said to me when I was being self-critical about a task I wasn’t good at, decades ago.  My memory — which can’t be good at everything — tells me Jonathan said

You can’t be good at everything

when I was feeling shame about my living space being cluttered and not “guest-ready. ”

At various points in my life, it’s been helpful for me to say to myself

You can’t be good at everything

about other things, including

  • doing my taxes
  • drawing
  • penmanship
  • cleaning
  • maneuvering gracefully around other people while walking
  • keeping my cat away from my laptop
  • calculus
  • being a perfect mother
  • singing loudly
  • discussing politics
  • keeping my hair neat all the time


  • and many more.

Sometimes, I seem to think that I SHOULD be good at everything, but I hope my readers know that being good at everything  is completely impossible, even if somebody wrote this in your 9th grade yearbook:


You can’t be good at everything, even if you encounter a kind person like Roger sometime in your life.

I can’t be good at everything, including capturing all the wonderful images around me, every single day.  For example, yesterday I took only these three shots:




You can’t be good at everything, but I hope you’re good at leaving good-enough comments for this blog.

Good thanks to Jonathan, Roger, my neighbor Karen (for the custom-made bumper sticker on her car), and all the other good people who helped me create this post. Also, great thanks to you — of course! — for reading this, here and now.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

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56 thoughts on “Day 1126: You can’t be good at everything

  1. Kathy T

    Love the hairdo! None of us are good at everything, Ann, but you are GREAT where it counts!

  2. That hair pic…is perfect ! ☺ And I know a little about perfectionism. It’s the disease of a lifetime. 💕

  3. Fun post, Ann! It’s funny how, if we are really good at something, people tend to expect us to be good at lots of things. Then you may hear, “I’d have thought that YOU OF ALL PEOPLE would (know, understand, agree, love, hate, etc)_______.” Not a funny comment today for me, but I’m not always good at them!

  4. I think the idea is to accept your imperfection. No one is perfect 🙂

  5. The only notion of “perfectionism” came from homo sapiens, the other species are okay and have no issues. It’s the notion that nature (or ’things in themselves’ are not perfect (and have to be reinvented or improved)

  6. One can’t be good at everything, and truth is, I wouldn’t want to be good at everything Ann! ❤
    Diana xo

  7. Not being afraid of not being good at everything is one of the surefire ways to get better at practically anything.

  8. I am exceptional and barely good enough. It works for me. May it work for you Ann and all humankind 😉

  9. I know it’s both a male and female problem, but it seems to weigh a lot more on women’s shoulders. We are expected to be perfect at everything: cooking, cleaning, career, sex, parenting — until we get fried somewhere down the road. Too bad it’s taken me this long to see that perfection is an illusion. For once you achieve it all, you will be criticized for not letting go, making too much of your career or body or whatever, and off you go again. P.S. I think you are perfect at blogging!

  10. I’m getting better as selective deafness and stopping for no apparent reason. Nice post.

  11. I figuring the good and bad are all part of who we are! I stopped trying to improve my cleaning skills long ago!

  12. Perhaps perfection in all we do is not possible, but, only because there isn’t time to learn everything. I believe we only have a concept of perfection within us because we CAN achieve it; how else would we know what it is?…. If we are mindful, and open to learn, remembering there is a learning curve for everyone, it is possible to do what we do well, in every thing we do…. The necessary trick is to realize the concept of perfection is transient; imperfection is the other side of the coin, until the lesson is learned….

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

    And, don’t sweat the small stuff….


  13. Maureen

    You are very good at writing just the right post for me each day. This was very useful.

  14. That bumper sticker made me laugh out loud Ann. I always tell people when they are putting themselves down for not being good at something, that we all have our fortes- the things we excel at, and we all can’t be good at everything hard as we may try. I think you happen to be good at plenty of things – and the most important IMHO- connecting with people 😀

  15. Am I good at everything, well I could say I am but that would be a lie, so I will not say that at all I am instead going to tell you that I am doing the best I can right now, also I would like a bumper sticker that says, I am 53 and crazy so bewear

  16. Great reminder for me, Ann. I laughed out loud at your hair pic. I know the feeling only too well. I’m really working on knowing and acting like I am perfectly imperfect.

  17. Good at everything, well, not. Getting a new badge at work tomorrow and hoping the hair looks good! I do love the fact you’re out there every day looking at things. Not everyone looks, Ann! You’re very good at that.

  18. Maureen

  19. I,too, love the hairdo; and the septuagenarian driver. I left the sums to my brother, Chris, and he left the art and writing to me. That way we got on fine.

  20. Ha ha! And yet, does it seem sometimes like the list of things we’re not good at positively drowns out the one of things we might be good at? :-/

    • We seem to be very good at focusing more on what we’re not good at than on what we are good at. I wish we weren’t so good at that!

      • Truer words …! I’ve been telling myself that for years. Just last night I was having a conversation with myself about the need to reclaim myself in some measure. Perhaps, it’s time to put some serious thought into that. Great post! 🙂

      • Great comments!

  21. Great post Ann… I love that you are not great at everything because the things you are great at (like creating interesting posts!) shines brighter. Great hairdo, btw… mine often looks like that throughout the day ha!

  22. Three cheers for the Rogers of the world who give us unconditional positive regard and tons of encouragement when we may need it most. Love your blog, Ann, which is more than good enough & in fact it’s great!

    • Sunny! I wasn’t good at seeing this comment when you wrote it. I hope you are well! ❤

      • Hi Ann, how nice to get this reply and be reminded of your lovely blog! I’m well, but it’s been pretty hectic having sold our NY place and made PA our full time home. I ended my practice in NYC and am working out of a lovely office in E Stroudsburg, PA. Talk about changing cognitive maps! I haven’t had a chance to read any blogs for ages, so I’m not up on your status but I hope you are well, too! ❤

  23. Pingback: Day 2360: Internal ____________ | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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