“I’m going to get married at 21 and have kids by 23 so when my kids get older I won’t be old” This was my 13 year old plan because one of my friends had older parents and they never wanted to take us anywhere. In my 13 year mind, this meant they lacked energy because they were too old. This was also a time when I thought 40 was really old and 50 was ancient. I thought that this was the age when your out of shape and can’t do any physical activities. 17 years really has a way of changing a person perspective.
If you were to ask me 17 years ago do I want to be good or excellent I would have quickly responded with excellent. Who wants to be average? Excellent meant being better than the average person. Being better than average means I have to compare my progress to others. Life has a way of teaching lessons over and over and over again. The lesoons – my childhood friend calling me a loser “I’m going to be better than her” my other childhood friends that didn’t want to hang with me when we got older because I didn’t curse “I will go further than them,” the people in high school that didn’t want to be my friend , “I will show them that I’m somebody”.
After striving so hard to be better than average and getting beat down each time, my perspective slowly changed. Just as easy as you zoom out from a specific location to see a larger area on Google maps. I now can see the bigger picture. Just like getting old doesn’t always mean out of shape. Being excellant is not about being better than someone else. What’s the bigger picture? Being excellent means putting forth your best effort. Sometimes the best you can do is 10% of what you normally because your fatigue, sometimes your best is 100% of all your energy because everything is working out.
Striving for excellence is not all about your performance in comparison to others, it’s about sticking to your commitments. About perseverance. It is not all about work, work, work, it is about having enough compassion on yourself to make healthy decisions that will enhance your life and those around you. And sometimes that does mean rest.
My performance today maybe better or worse than yesterday depending on the circumstances and the tools I have. You have to be so in tune to the moment that you know when to push yourself and when to cut yourself slack. Cutting yourself slack and making excuses are two different things. Excuses are when you are justifying reasons you didn’t keep your commitment, slack is when you tried your hardest to achieve, but could only do so much.
You are not going to get to the finish line without putting in the necessary work and letting go of excuses, but you will also not get their from being so anxious about the end result. Everything is ok and as long as you are moving in the right direction you’re making progress. Even if it’s the wrong direction, it’s a lesson learned- still progress. The wider perspective is that we are just a spec floating through the universe and eventually we’ll get to where a need to be.
How has your perspective change as you become older and wiser?