Spoons for the Rest of Us


A few weeks ago, I talked about spoons. It was brilliant and eloquent.

And Humble.

And I was wrong. Kind of.

The Spoon Theory
The spoon theory is pretty simple. It basically says that everyone has a certain number of spoons each day. Some people have more, some people have less. We use the spoons each day to get things done.

Spoons are basically a metaphor for energy, and, as I talked about a few weeks ago different things take away our spoons. The theory was created as a way to explain what it’s like to deal with a disability. Many people use it to explain what it’s like to deal with disabilities or mental illness such as depression.

As someone who struggles with depression, I get the metaphor. Additionally, I like the metaphor in general as I think there is a broad spectrum of possibilities with this metaphor, even for those that don’t struggle with disabilities. For some a lack of spoons may be from a mental illness or draining relationships or just the demands of the day. I’d like to think for those people there may be a different view of spoons.

A Different Perspective
But, as I’ve been thinking about it, I wonder if a lot of us don’t all start out with the same number of spoons. I wonder if each day doesn’t just give us all pretty much an exact match of spoons.

After all it seems most of us have days where we are just on fire. There are days that we accomplish so much. It seems like nothing stops us.

Maybe we all start with the same number of spoons. Then, as the day wears on, some people get praised and get extra spoons while others are mocked and get theirs taken away.

Some people have habits that help them feel a strong sense of spoon-adding accomplishment early in the day while others take their time waking to a instant spoon theft. Some might have grown in a house that fed a strong sense of self confidence that provides a positive, spoon-creating soundtrack while others are constantly self-shaming their own spoons away.

Spoon Generators
And then there are the spoon generators. Some people may be stuck in a job that feels pointless and thankless where little gremlins come out of the corners and steal spoons. Others may be in jobs that are exciting and exhilarating where they build amazing things that come with free spoons.

It may be that the things we do each day can either add to our spoon stockpile or take away from it. It may be that the people in our lives can add to it or take away from it. It could be that our own view of the world and ourselves can add to it or take away from it.

Find Your Spoons
It could be that we have the opportunity to manufacture our own spoons. We may be able to find better ways to talk to ourselves. It isn’t always easy, but a few spoons can go a long way.

It could be that we have the opportunity to cultivate better relationships by limiting our exposure to negative ones, cultivating positive ones, and improving those in-between.

It could be that we need to find work that excites us, empowers us, energizes us, and fills our silverware drawer full. Even if we have to do it in our free time. Even if we have to stand up for it when the time calls for it. Even if we have to make hard decisions.

Because life is only going to give us so many spoons. We can accept what it has to offer, or we can do what we can to make it better. We may not always get as many spoons as we would like, but we can find more ways to get the spoons we want.

David Bishop

David is CEO of Cedowin Productions, dedicated to helping you live your best life through positive habits. He has inspired tens of thousands to improve habits and communication through books, articles, workshops, and apps. He is the creator of AweVenture, helping families enjoy fantastic, active experiences and Zombie Goals, literally making building healthy habits a game. He’s authored several books including How to Create Amazing Presentations, 7 Steps to Better Relationships, and The Man in the Pit, which helps people who have loved ones struggling with depression.

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