This is my first post in the RIDICULE ME series! I would love your thoughts, so leave a comment below!
On first glance I loved this quote. It has great sentimentality, and makes a good point. Work hard at self-improvement. I am all for self-improvement. But the more I see this quote the more I hate it. Loathe it actually.
How many times are we told not to compare ourselves to others? To only compare ourselves to ourselves? No matter what you are doing: getting fit, blogging, eating healthy, parenting, practicing religion, etc. People say you should only look at the progress YOU are making. Where are you from where you were last month, last week, and yesterday? As long as you are improving and growing everything is good. Right?
I hate to disagree (actually I don’t hate it at all), but I do. Why shouldn’t we compare ourselves to others? Everyone else does? And I am not saying that if everyone was jumping off a cliff, I would too. But I am saying that even if I would prefer using Euros, the fact remains that here in the US, dollars are the accepted currency. If you want to make an impact/money/difference/etc. you can’t just be mediocre. And you can’t be happy with mediocre because it is better than bad.
When you are considering potential surgeons for a procedure do you say, “Well, they aren’t the best surgeon, but look how much better they are now than they were 2 years ago?”
You get the best. Or at least the best you can afford. The same holds true for mechanics, tax preparers, fitness coaches, produce, etc. Do you buy wilted lettuce because it isn’t brown? Do you think a mother who is abandoning her children weekly to seek out drugs is a good parent because at least they are no longer doing it daily? Nope!
I guess the question I am asking is this: Why shouldn’t we try to be the very best? Not just the best us, but the best whatever. Best blogger, best soccer player, best mother.
I am tired of living in a world of mediocrity, and telling kids that it is okay that they aren’t the best player on their team, because they are trying, and better then they were at the start of the season. Wouldn’t it be better to teach them to be the best by working hard? By putting their efforts where they will have the biggest dividends? That half of an effort only gives half a result? If they want to be the best it requires a lot of work. Not just desire, but genuine work! And they aren’t going to be the best at everything, but they could be at something.
There are times when improvement is a good thing, but why are we settling for just that? Why are we teaching our kids that participating is enough? That trying is enough. It isn’t. In the real world, you can’t just try. You can’t just participate. Those who succeed do something more, they work harder, work differently, and differentiate themselves, not from their past self, but from everyone else!
Sure it is important to consider factors such as timing, effort, and where you are on your journey. But just because you know you are new at something, doesn’t mean other people know that. Do you want someone to look at your art/photography/blog/parenting and say, “It is okay they suck, they are new at this?” No, you want to be the best no matter what stage you are at. And yes, you should work to improve, but doesn’t improvement come by comparing your beginning to someone’s end? Do new photographers try to emulate the beginning work of the renowned greats? No, they try to emulate their “end,” the works they are known for.
So what do I suggest? Rather than not making the comparisons, don’t let the comparisons stop you from working to improve! Instead, let them inspire. Don’t give up hope or stop making efforts just because you aren’t as good as someone else. Instead, let them be a mark to shoot for. Never settle for just being better than you used to be. Why not try to be the best?