Monday, December 5, 2011

Irrational Expectations of Excellence

Whew! Say that three times fast! I can barely say it once, although it's the mantra that's been dancing through my head for the better part of my life. I do pretty good at trying to keep my expectations for other people in check, but when it comes to myself, I tend to have irrational expectations of excellence.

Perhaps, you may say, irrational is a bad choice of words. But, I subscribe to the belief that a rational person would never set her sights so high. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. And, even after days and days of gnawing at a self-imposed problem or task, I can't ever bring myself to lower that standard to a more easily attained one. There's just this certain something inside me that strives for perfection - whatever mystical destination that is - even though I know reaching it is nearly impossible... But nearly doesn't mean never!

Perhaps this explains why I have bags under my eyes. Perhaps I should spend more time eating and sleeping and less time worrying about all the little details.

And, maybe while I'm at it, I should teach my children to do the same. Hard work is overrated, right? Achievement is unnecessary. Goals are unattainable. Aim low, reach your goals, and... well, that's the problem. In life you get what you work for. A farmer who sleeps all day, yields no crops. A computer programmer who fails to stay at the cusp of technology designs outdated products. A student with no drive never graduates. A runner who doesn't train, will never win a race (haha, I threw that in for all my runner friends! and no, it doesn't mean I'm going to take up the sport!) A hiker who doesn't push himself, never reaches the summit.

I believe that hard work is the producer of miracles! Whatever "it" is, if we are willing to put in the required work, Nothing is Impossible! So, while my expectations of excellence might lack rationality, they do not necessarily lack attainability.

At the end of the day, I think it's important to remember that we are all our own worst critics. If we do our best every time, we will not fail!

I hope before my journey ends I'll touch the peek of excellence that I've spent my whole life climbing towards. If not, then I guess I can at least say I tried - and sometimes that's enough!

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