“Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have.” – Amy Poehler, Yes Please
I absolutely love this quote, but I also disagree with it.
I think what Poehler is trying to do here is remind us how important it is to discover what we’re good at. Our currency is our strength, what we’re able to contribute. And we should absolutely invest that currency. We should use it to further our dreams and to become better and happier versions of ourselves.
But to me this quote, or at least the second half of it, also suggests that the only currency we will ever have is the currency we are born with. And I don’t believe that’s true.
In just the last few years I’ve seen myself grow and change in spectacular ways. I’ve changed from a wallflower who pushed people away out of fear and discomfort, into someone who’s brave enough to face her anxiety and make new friends, date, and talk on the phone (yes, that was something I was afraid to do for 18+ years). That’s currency that I picked up along the way, currency that I earned through hard work and personal growth. I wasn’t born with all of it.
Some could make the argument that I employed skills and strength I had inside me all along. Part of that might be true, though if it was there I certainly wasn’t using it. But ultimately I think that extra currency came from external sources. It came from the people I met, the new challenges I faced, etc.
And so I think it’s unfair to say that there are things we will never have. Ultimately we have no idea what kinds of currency we’ll pick up along the way or what kinds of new things we’ll be capable of. Life has a way of sending us exactly what we need; it’s our responsibility to invest that new income wisely.