One odd thing is that no matter what I do, there will always be someone better at it. There’s going to be someone better at making spreadsheets than I am. There will be people better than me at writing songs or poems. I can’t even think abstractly enough to eliminate “I” from the things I write, and I’m almost 30, and my style is basically the same as it was when I was 16. There will be people faster than me, more thoughtful than me, more thorough than me, more kind, more generous, better at vision-casting, better leaders, better dressers, better romantics, and on and on. I wonder what it feels like to be the best at something. I wonder what it’s like to be Usain Bolt and be fairly certain that you are the absolute best at running 100 or 200 meters in a straight line; to walk around with an assurance that you are the best. It even says so on your Wikipedia page. What would it be like to be the best? Is it a constant pressure like something is right behind you waiting for you to falter and take that podium from you? Or is it a constant glow of warm, soft satisfaction bathing you from morning to night?
I’ll likely never know. I certainly am never going to be the fastest at anything…or the smartest…and certainly not the sexiest. Sorry, readers, don’t hope for me on the cover of People Magazine.
So, if I am fairly certain I never will be the best, then what is the point of striving to improve. Why not just be satisfied with my below average poems and songs, my mediocre bass ability, my tenuous knowledge of MS Excel, my somewhat above average ability to evaluate and improve processes? What is the point of trying to be the best if I know I can’t achieve it? Sure, growing up I was told that I could do anything I put my mind to. Say I wanted to be a published poet who won Pulitzer prizes and the like. I’m fairly certain that no matter how much my mind is put to it, I will not accomplish that goal. I don’t have certain characteristics that breed that sort of recognition.
Are you depressed by this blog yet? Don’t be.
The thing is that knowing intellectually that I will probably not be the best in many things in my life does nothing for the joy I experience in trying to be the best. When you’re younger, it’s easy to top yourself. One day you run a mile in 8 minutes, then a week or two later you run it in 7. One day you can easily read the English translation of The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, and a couple years later, you’re in Ms. Koch’s class reading about Don Quixote in Spanish. Accomplishment comes quick and easy. As you age, milestones gain further and further distance on one another, and sometimes, in some areas, it feels like you are just on an endless plain, but it’s not true. It’s doubt whispering lies in your ear. If you want that plain to angle up, and you have the discipline to angle it up, it will be angled up…even if only a couple degrees. And man, the feeling of accomplishment when you reach a new milestone as an adult is so much greater than it was as a kid. You know what’s a shame though? It’s a shame we don’t celebrate more. It’s a shame we don’t have a party when people accomplish a long-hoped-for goal.
Well, I’m going to keep trying to improve in every area of my life. I may never be the best, but I’m not going to stop trying to be the best. If I improve many areas at once, I am certain to become more valuable to the people whose lives I touch, and that alone is worth the effort.
Here are some goals I hope to one day celebrate:
1. Return to a management position.
2. Write a book.
3. Write and record an album.
4. Take Becky to Europe.
5. Create a Worship Conference in the DC/Baltimore area.
6. Create a Retreat Ministry with Becky.
7. Learn to play piano.
8. Learn to really dance with Becky.
9. Teach Ariella to love swimming.
10. Perform live again.
There are a myriad more. Some too personal to put on here, some too hard to explain. Anyway. Make goals. Try to be perfect. It can’t hurt.