“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.” Steven Wright
Most of us still desire to be and do our best. And today, even our best needs improvement.
During a recent interview, best-selling Author/Speaker Harvey Mackay recalled a story about his good friend, the late, legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi who told him, “Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
Now that is shooting high.
Isn’t it a shame that there is such a growing legion of willing disciples calmly submitting to the tenets of mediocrity and low expectation?
Just imagine how it affects self-identity. It destroys vision, saps initiative and blunts intention.
I welcome their resignation. That means less competition for me.
Now, that probably sounds cold. But, don’t misunderstand. I do care for others. My intention is to help but not share an emotional load indefinitely. Maybe that takes me out of the running for a merit badge from the compassionately correct but, I’ve got my own challenges and bills to pay that demand immediate attention.
We all want more in a world where less is sovereign. It is a time to focus and be better than best.
Here’s the thing: We get sidelined in the pursuit of perfection instead of the attainable excellent. We all can do more and Vince Lombardi achieved a whole lot more than I ever will accomplish so respectful props to the coach.
And, unlike Lombardi, there is no service area along the Jersey Turnpike named after me. Ya know, you’ve got to put things in perspective.
I will settle for excellence and that is a tough enough assignment especially during these tough times.
We are over the age of 50. We’ve weathered many storms, eclipsed the most unforeseen imaginings and now find ourselves immersed in self-examination wondering what the hell to do now?
I have written in the past about the 7 C’s of Success:
1). Chaos and Confusion-Wanting out of it now
2). Calm-Accepting it
3). Concept-Developing it
4). Construction-Giving it form
5). Completion-Taking it to the Marketplace
6). Conclusion-All matter has cycles. Accepting it, moving on
7). Commencement-Accepting something new
The biggest challenges lie in the first 3 C’s. It’s too easy to be seduced by the siren call and corrupting allure of Noise and Distraction. That can prove to be an ongoing struggle.
The most difficult step is finding Calm. Then, the most difficult step is escaping Calm. Introspection can entrap; creating dubious, if not impossible goals to achieve.
That scenario becomes the incubator for perfection attainment; and that’s the downfall.
Perfection is impossible. Because it is inconceivable, all efforts to achieve it become futile. But, we don’t give up. We soldier on but encounter more frustration in the quest to achieving perfection.
Plus, the harder we work, the more we come to recognize and respect the “close but no cigar” adage.
And, as we become more introspective, we disregard external counsel and consider it distraction.
It is similar to the outcomes for Millennials. The difference: they exclude group unlikeness, embrace uniformity while we morph into an environment where we are sole proprietor and the singular sphere of influence.
It is the land of theorists, continually postulating, never producing but always on the threshold of “almost.”
Most likely, you are over the age of 50. Attaining mid-century landmark status, means having the balls to say no.
Way to go! Let’s hear it for NO, yes? No!
When we were younger, most of us would just “go along to get along.” Yes became a natural response. No was extremely difficult, even to enunciate.
Now the “no” hounds have finally been unleashed. But, that can become problematic in reining them in. It’s like they’ve got a weekend pass and the “no’s.” are drunk with their new found power.
Unfortunately, too many “no’s” are prime indicators of old age. Too many “no’s” can manifest themselves in our physical comportment and bearing.
Instead of standing up straight and keeping a bright and lively step, the “no’s” engender a slower gait of walk and produce a bent over carriage. That leads eventually to the senior citizen slouch and shuffle and never lifting of feet.
The mental attitude affects the physical demeanor.
We are much too young to be old. In our quest for perfection, we cloister ourselves in a kingdom of our own making, a dominion of one that is shrinking in size, influence and meaning that hastens decline and spawns inner decay.
Author/Filmmaker Julia Cameron said, “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.”
Sure, it’s a given. If you don’t know yourself, you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing. That calls for a serious time-out to focus and re-focus.
But then again, lacking focus and introspection lead to indecisiveness, the key to flexibility. You’ve got to look on the bright side!
What I’m saying is there is no happy medium. We all want balance. Unfortunately, balance and cycles are mutually exclusive. Where is synchronicity when we need it?
So, we do the best we can.
We are perfect the way we are. We are perfectly imperfect. All we can do is strive for personal excellence. What I’ve found is we all need help. We need outside influence. We need mentors. We need coaches.
Perfection aspiration is the antagonist to excellence consummation.
Unlike Coach Lombardi, I’ll never get a Garden State rest stop named after me. What would be excellent would be an official Dick Heatherton exit ramp off the Marina Freeway here in LA.
Hey, I’m dreaming big.
That is part of my personal passionate pursuit of imperfection.