Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Selling Ourselves Short

"No one believes their life will turn out just 'kind of okay'
We all think we're going to be great
...We are filled, with expectation...
Expectations of the trails we will blaze
The people we will help
The difference we will make
Great expectations of who we will be
Where we will go...
And we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren't met"
- Meredith Grey (Grey's Anatomy Season 3 Episode 13)

Late last year, a very dear friend asked me why I often loudly and proudly claim that I'm awesome. She opined that I risked coming across as arrogant and immodest.

I partly agreed. Yes, OTHER people would think so. But to what extent does their opinion matter?

In growing up, I have learnt to
not let the noise of others' opinions drown my own inner voice. And [even more] important, I [now] have the courage to follow my heart and intuition - they somehow already know what I truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Steve Jobs Stanford 2005 commencement address - Go to 12:42 - 12:57 below:

Check out some highlights of the above speech in our post about living in 2010.

Speaking of knowing what we want to become, we invariably have lofty ambitions and grand schemes about what we'd like our lives to be in the future. We however rarely do anything to make such dreams and aspirations come true. They remain just that - dreams :(
In his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't, Jim Collins begins by stating a fundamental truth:
Good is the enemy of great.
The abundance of people, things and situations that are just good enough is the key reason why so little becomes great. Why break your back trying to make something great while good works just fine? In a recent post, a fellow freelancer dwelt on establishing the worth of services rendered by freelancers when they leave employment.

Our willingness to settle for and make do with what is good is a big problem. In so doing, we no longer push ourselves to the limit. We no longer go the extra mile, much less the requisite distance. We become too tolerant, we simply walk the already trodden path and never challenge convention.

How then, can we deal with this unfortunate situation?

I believe that each one of us needs to have more faith in him or herself. It is however equally important that such a firm faith in self be qualified by action.
Remember that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that "little" extra. Everyone needs to go the extra mile, deliver much more than what's required and unrelentingly go beyond expectations. Only then can we move from good to great.

In any case, it is the unexpected that changes our lives.


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