Perhaps….be the hammer, not the nail


for those of us who might wait for others to handle things
or wait for our lives to turn around
hoping things will work out
or maybe we’re just “easy going” and willing to go along

Maybe we’re not initiating?
Maybe we’re not living with a sense of empowering energy?


Perhaps to pause and think about this idea
notice that living with “passiveness” might not be working too well
too much being “traded off”
….to reconsider…
and maybe even to start practicing
being the hammer…not the nail




I recently heard an interesting talk in which the speaker referred to this idea of a person having, or learning to develop, a sense of personal “agency”… a sense of initiative and personal power… the  importance of  a person learning to let go of a sense of “learned helplessness” and shifting into making more empowering choices. The speaker mentioned that a sense of  “helplessness,” or  “learned helplessness,” can easily lead to depression, or become a result of depression…and one positive strategy to get out of that low mood might be to learn to “become the hammer, not the nail”….interesting idea… Even if there’s no “depression,” I still like it…I’m ready to keep this image in mind and try to be more of a hammer and less of a nail…


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21 Responses to Perhaps….be the hammer, not the nail

  1. granbee says:

    My heart’s desire–empowering others to build connections for peace and goodwill, for the benefit of all Creation!


  2. love this. I think I shall carry one of those hammers with the big rubber head though – still gets the job done and better suits my personality. I really needed to hear this tonight. Blessings my friend.


  3. cuhome says:

    Hmmm. Interesting to think about this one. Intuiting when it’s time to be the hammer and when it’s time to be the nail — well, that’s the difficult part of this. Nice post!


    • thank you Janet.
      yes….discerning when to be in the role of the hammer and when to be the nail… I noticed this afternoon that in order to be more of a hammer, I needed to get myself going with stronger intention, motivation and carry through…I taped that hammer image up on the cupboard door and actually managed to make more helpful choices.


  4. sufilight says:

    This is very, very helpful! I like the image of the hammer and the nail as it will motivate me on those days when being a hammer is more beneficial than being a passive nail. Loved this post! 🙂


    • thanks Marie…. I did find the hammer motivating yesterday, but then today, it looks SO BIG…I’m thinking of doing a search for a small hammer and little nails… little bit at a time toward a goal rather than a great big huge THUMP! 😉 btw…I just learned how to make that 😉 from your comment on today’s post…more my style….fooling around with faces than slamming big nails with giant hammers. ( so much for my assertiveness training for myself…I told Nancy, below, that I need to sign up for Nancy101, Agent Training Class. 😉 )


  5. Great image to carry forward…typically being a hammer isn’t something I want to be, but when you put it in opposition to being a nail, I appreciate the value of being a “power” tool! 🙂 Debra


  6. Pingback: The “hammer” considers some options… | Pocket Perspectives

  7. nrhatch says:

    Great thoughts, Kathy. Today, at physical therapy, while sitting in the waiting room, mom said, “I wish THEY would turn off that ceiling fan. I’m freezing.”

    I pointed to a spot in the room outside the fan’s reach . . . “Instead of waiting for THEM to do something, why don’t you move and go sit over there?”

    The thought of being the agent in charge had never occurred to her.

    I’m just the opposite, I never wait for THEM to do something when I can improve my situation myself.


    • I think your mom and I need to sign up for Nancy101 …oh, your mom doesn’t realize it, but I guess she’s already enrolled…..sounds like we both could use that “agent in charge” training…. 😉 …but, seriously, I could use that!


      • nrhatch says:

        Just ask, “what can I do to make this situation more bearable?” Then do it (as long as it doesn’t step on anyone else’s toes).

        Many stop themselves from improving their present situation out of self-consciousness. They are more concerned with what others think of them (in their own imagination), then they are in improving their physical well-being.

        For example, if I’m in the middle of a BORING seminar when my attendance is NOT required, and I know that I have better things to do . . . I LEAVE.


        I don’t care what reasons THEY assign to my departure . . . I just go. It’s very liberating.


  8. Robin says:

    Very thought-provoking. It’s hard to know when to be the hammer and when to be the nail. I don’t think I’m the hammer very often because I’m relatively easy going, but when I do decide it’s Hammer Time, well, people know it. lol!


  9. That was a great pleasure to read various posts here, as well as a fantastic opportunity to get a new knowledge. There is no doubt, your blog is the most exciting and breath-taking one I have visited for the past weeks.


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