“Good is the enemy of great” according to Jim Collins. This is not a novel idea. In fact, the idea has been borrowed from a host of diverse theorists as far back as Voltaire. Voltaire has posited that “The best is the enemy of good”, meaning to forgo the good when one is pursuing the best option. Collins has reinvented a similar idea and presented in his book “From Good to Great” which has sold 2.5 million copies. Since then, the concept has become a corporate fad and been adapted in many companies by executives in an attempt to excel at work. So how can you use the same motivational principles in your own life?
Enjoyment is a tricky business. When a person is young they are driven by the adrenaline to try out new things to experience the wonder of it. Once tried and tested, the excitement fades, and the curious mind finds newer quests to explore. This process continues until all or most of the avenues have been exploited. What happens then? We become stuck in the hamster wheel, most of the time not realizing it. Even if we do, we find it difficult to come out of the wheel because we feel trapped. There is less enjoyment and more burden in the everyday people and activities we pursue.
For many this is the mid-life crisis, when the drive to go on in the same rut does not hold anymore charm. For others, this is the end of the achievement ladder. There are others who are of the belief that this is the point of fulfillment – for a lack of a better term, point of actualization. Actualization is basically a term derived from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in which he posits man has various needs to survive namely physiological, security, social, esteem and self-actualizing. Once all of the basic needs and esteem needs are achieved, the last and most crucial need of self-actualizing becomes elusive to most individuals.
It is at this point that an individual, tired of the same old rut will look for self-actualizing. This is the time when one needs to re-evaluate the different aspects of life. Questions which pop up in the mind and force us to confront the reality of one’s existence include:
- Why does my life seem meaningless?
- What do I really want out of life?
- What have I achieved?
- How can I fully maximize my potential?
- What was I meant to be?
Commitment to Yourself
While it is easy to take stock of one’s life regularly, it is another matter to commit to the actualized values. Few will be able to come up with what they really want out of life, and even fewer are able to fully grow to their full potential to make it last for a lifetime. The key is to be the best. Choose the best and the rest will follow literally works. Starting right now, if I desire to send my children to the best school, I should not settle for anything mediocre. Research for the best and save up for its admission fees, and work towards its maintenance should be my goal from this point onward.
For those out there aspiring to do the same, it is not difficult or even impossible – all it requires is commitment. Take time out to explore and identify the things that you really want out of life. Is it a sports car? A dream vacation? A trek to Machu Picchu? Be a great author? Make it a mental policy or chalk it down somewhere – do not give in to mediocre; settle only for the best.
Out with Old
Sharif Khan, author of Psychology of the Hero Soul, suggests getting rid of junk and unused things, and concentrate on things which we really want. So this is the time to get into your garage, dig out the broken down bicycle, Dad’s old racket, the high school music deck and get rid of them. If you desire good health, buy a walking machine instead of trying to repair the broken bicycle (unless repairing is therapeutic for you). Invest in the latest stereo system to soothe your mood when you get home from a hectic day’s work instead of cranking up the old stereo. What will you achieve with this, you ask. For one, you will have the thrill of owning things that you have worked hard to get and really like. And secondly, they add value to your life instead of lying around in the garage gathering dust.
The same can be done with relationships. Don’t dwell on the old, toxic relationships which do not motivate you or inspire you to live a fulfilling life. They suck the life out of you, and at the end of the day you’ll be left high and dry. It takes courage to hang up on your so called buddies, but you’ve got to start from somewhere, with someone. Once you’ve made your mind, make new connections with people who add value to your life, inspire you, and motivate you to do more.
Set up Goals
Taking action, as Collins writes, helps one align plans to achieve goals. Translate the same principle to emotions, get rid of emotional clutter in your life to envision clear goals. What is it that is pulling you down every day? What kind of friends do you desire to keep? Is your job the best there is in the market? What do you dream of doing by the time you hit 40? Do you feel overcrowded in your head space? Sometimes it is hard for an individual to even think less consider quitting a good job yet that very fact would make a difference. Take up freelance projects, work from home, search for alternative jobs – whichever suits you best. The point is, if a person puts his or her mind to it, there is always a way out.
The general idea is not to uproot one from life totally but to find the best option there is out there. Why should you settle for the better option when the best is out there? The conscious choice for the best not only allows an individual to own up to its consequences but also be assured of satisfaction derived from achieving it. By actualizing personal goals you can enjoy growth and development. Self-esteem becomes paramount to gain confidence, develop sense of identity and gain control of one’s life. Feeling fantastic therefore is not a far-fetched vision but an achievable reality.
The road to accomplishing this mission is rough but the outcomes benefit you a lifetime. An aware individual gives more value to family, friends and community than one who has lost their sense of self and the drive to go on. A person who sets aside time to dream will always have some quest to follow. When one is driven by a personal mission he or she has more adrenaline to drive on in life than one who settles for someone else’s dreams. That, my friend, feels fantastic.
This post was first published on Random Rambles by Janil Jean.