How Great Do You Want to Be?
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” — Steve Jobs
Growth doesn’t always make a business or individual better…and in many cases, our focus on those things runs counter to what our goals really should be — becoming a BETTER VERSION of who we were yesterday, not just a bigger one.
I can prove it to you with just one simple and profound statement…
Harvard doesn’t try to be the biggest university in the world, it strives to be the best university in the world.
Students aren’t killing themselves and paying over $400,000 to get a degree from Harvard because of how much growth it’s had.
They want to be associated with the product because it’s been eternally optimized to be the best.
We too often allow ourselves to become infatuated and distracted by “growth” that we rarely ask ourselves what it is about growth that even matters.
You know who cares about growth, views, fans and likes?
I assure you…it’s not the people who matter most.
Your team, your customers, your partners…they are the ones who matter most, and they care about quality, consistency, accountability and your passionate pursuit of excellence.
How great do you want to be?
What are you willing to demand of yourself?
What mark are you aiming for — pretty good, really good, the best?
These are the types of questions which focus on becoming better, not bigger.
Listen, there’s a time and a place to focus on growth. But all too often our focus on growth comes directly at the expense of our focus on quality.
And that’s a dangerous place to be.
By the time you get to the bottom of this post…I hope to convict you with the belief that your goals should be focused on getting better every day, on raising your game and eternally optimizing your capabilities and performance.
Other than the mental handcuffs and limits you set upon yourself…there is NOTHING that prevents you from adding greater value, going the extra mile and being a better person today than who you were yesterday.
There are no speed bumps nor speed limits…it’s all green lights.
There’s no terminal ending point when quality ends and decay begins.
It’s a party without a curfew…an ongoing celebration of life…an endless series of opportunities to unleash your greatness.
There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t spend EVERY DAY of your life upgrading and improving upon who you were yesterday.
To quote Ernest Hemingway…
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
A moment of reflection will validate the legitimacy of this argument as…
Everyday of your life provides unique opportunities to demonstrate greater commitment, discipline, compassion, good judgment, energy, and the feeling that you can improve upon yesterday’s performance.
Every day gifts you with more chances to eat cleaner, train harder, think better, work smarter, increase your contribution and dream bigger.
Conversely, each day provides you with opportunities to procrastinate, to stay in your comfort zone and to live the small compromised life you have created for yourself.
Therefore, quit making excuses…stop putting things off and forget about waiting until you’re older, skinnier, richer, braver, or all around better.
Every day you waste is another day you can’t get back…it’s a step in the wrong direction which undermines what you did yesterday.
Precisely because every thought, word and action serves as an advance or retreat in the pursuit of your goals…you have no choice but to accept the idea that the goal for today is to upgrade and improve upon who you were yesterday.
This should be the drum you are beating, the philosophy you are living and the Kool-Aid you are drinking.
Personal growth is a lifelong pursuit because life is a work in progress. You never totally arrive; there’s always some polishing to do, knowledge to gain, and love to deepen.
Self-development ends only when we run out of time. You are, and will always be, a self in evolution.
Who among us can’t improve a little as a parent, child, spouse, friend, entrepreneur or employee?
No one is perfect; no one walks the straight and narrow line all the time. The absence of perfection leaves the door wide open for daily improvement…and that’s how the best keep on getting better.
Based on perspective the passage of time does not bring age but maturity. We reach a stage, master it, and pass on to the next.
If we fail, that failure will persist until we rectify it. No amount of years will rid us of that necessity, and that is exactly why your daily challenge is to out-think, out-behave and out-perform who you were yesterday.
Now I could unleash a flurry of ideas on this subject and pepper you with before and after success stories…but the truth is simply this…
The only person you need to challenge and improve upon is the person in the mirror.
You do that every day by sweating the small stuff…by challenging yourself and by embracing the idea that getting better every day is a responsibility worth honoring.
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Gary Ryan Blair is creator of the 100 Day Challenge…a radical approach to goal achievement that shows people how to achieve 10X size goals by applying the methods and best practices of growth hacking.