Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Guest Post by Scarlett Archer: How To Do What YOU Want To Do

To celebrate my 100th post on this blog, I have invited Scarlett Rugers (who publishes under the name Scarlett Archer) to write the post for me. Not what she meant, but what *I* want to do today is sit in a cafe with a book and do no blogging at all.


God, don’t you just hate hearing the word potential? It’s schooling. I know it is. Which kid ever really knows what the hell it means? They don’t go to a parent-teacher night, seize their mother by the shoulders and shake her saying,

“My Lord! What have I been doing to myself? Why have I been wasting my skills?”

No. My parent-teacher night was me quietly suffocating my panic attack while my teacher told my mum how I could do so much more, my grades were average. I didn’t know how to get better.

So let me tell you something. It’s not a secret, but so many people go through their lives without acknowledging this.

You can do anything.

You can do anything.

You can do anything.

This isn’t some bullshit “You can be an astronaut if you want!”. I’m not talking to you as a parent would to a 5 year old, encouraging their dreams, waiting to see who or what they become, how they pigeon-hole themselves. I am talking to you as a human being, as a person with a brain, muscles, thoughts and feelings, goals and desires, fears and anxieties. With everything that you are right at this moment, everything you think about, everything you do – all this is encompassed.

You can do anything.

 So are there limits on this ‘anything’? No. What’s the catch, seriously?

You are. You’re the catch.

How can I do anything I want?

You learn. No no no, don’t turn off just yet. Hear me out.

When I was 19 I realized I defined intelligence as not how much you know but how willing you are to learn. This was after the 17 years of schooling crap, where I really thought I was stupid and I just couldn’t understand and that was it. I was never going to be good at maths or English.

The only thing standing between you and knowledge is time. Knowledge is information gathered, processed, and replicated in our brains, right? Knowledge is sourced by memory from an experience you had in the past.

You sit at a piano > you press some keys > you press the keys of Chopsticks > you play Chopsticks enough so that you can do it from start to finish without stopping > you now know how to play chopsticks.

You are 2 years old > you start saying mamamama > your parents encourage you to say mum > they say it enough so your mouth begins to make the words “mum” > you say the word mum > you say it often enough you don’t need to remember how to move your mouth to say the word > you now know how to say mum. 

But that is basic stuff.

You have been gaining knowledge since the day you were born. It doesn’t stop. No matter how old you are you are always learning. You learn about the local news, you learn about characters in Twilight, you learn with a bit more scrubbing that weird Jesus-like burn on your best pot can actually come off.

And yet even though we experience learning every day we don’t make the link between that and our dreams, our hopes, our plans. Given an infinite amount of time we can do anything. That’s right – you can do anything.

If I told you that you had to perform advanced maths equations in four years, you could do it. If you decide to open up a book store in 3 years, you can do it.

So remember the catch? You’re the catch. You’re the thing that is stopping you. Most likely a voice saying “but I don’t have that time.” We want things now. My generation is cursed with immediate greed; things must happen now and if they don’t then what’s the point?

What’s the point? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.

This means your dreams can be more than that. If you give yourself the chance and the time you can have every single thing you want for yourself.

You might have a voice saying “I’m not smart enough.” Let me remind you – you can speak your native language. You can walk, you can stand up, you know how money works, you can read and write, you can work a computer. These may seem basic to you but you applied yourself. It might have taken 3 hours or 3 years but you did it.

Your ability to learn does not run out, or stop, or dry up. It’s not a well that you have limited water inside to drink from. Parts of your brain don’t just die out at 20, or 30, or 50. In fact the more you use it the stronger it is. That whole thing about your brain being a muscle? It is. You flex it and feed it and test it and it gets BETTER.


We are built to know things. 

Your brain is designed to learn. It is specifically built to accept more information. What you need to do is figure out how best you learn. Do you learn by sitting in a class room? Do you learn best by watching others by example? What about doing it yourself and feeling your way through? Everyone learns differently and there is no right or wrong. By recognizing that you give yourself the best possibility of reaching your potential.

Make learning a fun process – make it for yourself. You’re the one who gets to dictate how you learn, how quickly or slowly you learn. You will not understand it straight away, you will make mistakes and have to try again and again. This is not a negative process. Keep at it, because it’s okay not to understand right away. Understanding comes through experience and learning. I can absolutely guarantee you, you will not understand a lot of most things straight away. You don’t even have to tell anyone about what you’re learning. It’s what you want to do and it is what makes you happy so do it.

Learn how to build a car. Learn how to write a novel. Learn how to produce a piece of music. Learn how to run 5kms. Learn how to bake a cake. Learn how to do accounting.

I work for Amazon Publishing because I continue to learn graphic design. I have 7 years of experience under my belt but I want to be one of the best in my field. And the only thing between me and being the best I can be is time. I don’t know how much time, could be 6 months, could be 16 years but I love it and I want it. So I’m having it.

I run my own business after 6 years of struggling because I struggled and it bombed, and kept learning. It’s in the 6th year I am able to run my own business full time and support my family. Because I can do anything, and the time that I needed to learn how has passed, and I’m here. I can do it.

Stop putting shit off. TRUST yourself. Trust you can do it because you have a brain that is built to handle it. To handle everything you put in it. Change the word ‘dream’ and make it a ‘goal’. Have big, humongous, deafening goals and do them all!

Intelligence is not how much you know but how willing you are to learn.

Scarlett is the author of 1001 First Lines and the creative genius at Scarlett Rugers Design. If you have been following this blog for a while, you’ll probably recognise the name. Loved her post? You can follow Scarlett on Twitter. I’ll be back to regular posting on Monday, but now I have the vague feeling that my cafe book should be one of those nonfiction titles I’ve been meaning to read for ages…

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