On any given day, should you strive for good, better, best, or just quit? In the past week, I’ve read three quotes that stuck with me:
The first was from Arkansas Razorback Men’s Basketball Coach Eric Musselman:
“If you strive for good, you will get average. If you strive for great, you will get good. Strive for perfect so you can achieve great.”Eric Musselman
It’s the kind of aspirational statement you’d expect from a coach. It immediately made me think of Michael Jordan. (I just finished watching “The Last Dance.”) Jordan was a great player! He was a great player because he was always motivated to win.
I can be motivated to win, but I’ll never be a great basketball player. In fact, I can do everything Eric Musselman says and I’ll never be a great basketball player. I could play a lot of basketball and I’m sure I’d improve, but would I be wasting time that could be better spent in some other endeavor?
That question brings me to quote #2 and perhaps an even better question. Is striving for perfection good?
Let me start with a quote from newsman Josh Belzman replying to @EricPMusselman
“Strive for perfect and you’ll give yourself an ulcer and then a heart attack. No thanks.”Josh Belzman
Obviously, Mr. Belzman believes striving for perfection is detrimental to one’s health. But even if it doesn’t lead to a heart attack, the idea that we must reach an ideal that cannot realistically be attained or sustained prevents some of us from ever getting started. And there’s some wisdom to that. Why put time and energy toward a goal you know can’t be achieved?
So, what’s the best way to be outstanding in your life?
I’m going to go with the idea that it’s more important to be a great human being than to achieve any certain anything. And that brings me to the third quote, one by Marianne Williamson:
“As big as the problems are on the outside, that’s how big on the inside we have to be in order to handle it. Every unhealed place in our lives is coming up for review now, because the more healed we are within ourselves the more healing we can bring to the world.”Marianne Williamson
Real strength always shows itself in the midst of difficulty. It looks attentive, kind, caring, vulnerable, empathetic, and loving. It feels solid. It does not need to manipulate or mislead. This kind of strength lies within all of us.
The way to be outstanding in your life is to honor, support, reinforce, and display your best self often. If that is your intention, you will succeed no matter what you achieve because you will bring peace to your life and healing to the world.
The one thing you need to quit doing is punishing yourself. Whatever you’ve done is done. Apologize, make amends, learn something, let it go. You cannot be your best until you do.
I’m all for reaching for the stars and pushing yourself and achieving great things. I’m for showing up with energy, focus, and effort. I’m for doing the very best job I can in any job I take on. I just don’t think achievement, as we currently think of it, is the best measure of a life well lived.