Have you abandoned taking tangible steps in the direction of your dreams? Have you settled for leading a life far smaller and narrower than you’re capable of living? If you answered no and are currently doing something to stretch your abilities and explore the full extent of your capabilities, congratulations--you are in a small, select group of people who choose to lead their lives in a more excellent way.
What specifically do I mean by leading your life in a more excellent way? It’s simple. I’m saying you recognize the quality of your life is determined largely by the quality of your thoughts. Think small, live small. Choose to be average and the one thing that’s virtually guaranteed is that you will achieve your goal every time.
However, if you chose to expand your view of the potential role you can play in the world, everything changes. Instead of being content taking the path of least resistance and accepting mediocrity as the norm, you are intent to become the best version of yourself possible by leading your life characterized by such terms as relevant, significant, and dare I say, excellent.
Psychologists actually have a name for this built-in desire to become the best version of ourselves. It’s called actualizing tendency and derives from the belief we all possess a built-in motivation to grow, to develop, and to enhance our individual and collective capacities. Through such a lens then, we are viewed as leading our lives in a more excellent way anytime we are doing something productive to stretch our horizons, expand our boundaries, and build value into our surroundings.
But if excellence is one of our primary aims in life, why is it we so often find ourselves missing the mark? How is it that an attitude of “good enough,” what I term a mediocre me mindset, so frequently or conveniently becomes a suitable alternative to giving our best to build an excellent company, or be an excellent spouse, sibling, parent, politician, soldier, athlete, and on and on? The answer: the moment we allowed it to.
The fact of the matter is, the majority of us fail to live up to our potential because we get so caught up worrying about all that could go wrong instead of focusing on all that might go right if we took proactive steps in the direction of our goals, ambitions and aspirations. Our fear of making a mistake, of being scrutinized, criticized or ostracized if we miss the mark, persuading us that mediocrity is a suitable alternative to getting outside our comfort zones in pursuit of our dreams.
So what practical actions can we take to stay on the path to excellence instead of allowing the status quo to have its way with us? Begin by following these two simple rules:
Remember, if you are content only to see the negative implications instead of positive possibilities of what could be if you risked pursuing your dreams, you won’t get very far in life. But if you are intent on leading your life in a more excellent way, to give your best to whatever you’re doing and caring enough to ensure the value you deliver to your surroundings is greater than others expect, you are well on your way to living the life you’ve always wanted.