Being Great — April 16th, 2015

I’ve been struggling a bit of late with my ability to focus. Whether it be design, writing, podcasting — all areas of my work life have been running inefficiently and it’s something I haven’t been able to figure out why.

The ideas in my head flow like an endless river, but finding the time to execute on any of them has always been my achilles heel.

Yesterday I had a revelation, and I think I’ve been finally able to put my finger on (at the very least a contributing factor to said struggles) why things have gone in this direction.

Here’s what I thought, and also what I shared on social media:

I think the more I focus on being great, the less I succeed at being good.

Think about that for minute, will you? Sit on it, and ponder the truth in that statement before you make any judgements about me.

We all strive for excellence, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in my eyes, 95% effort towards it, in my opinion, is 5% short. I think the focus should be on the former of what I tweeted, rather than the latter.

The pressure to be great is — well, so great that it cripples us — injects us with expectations that are typically unrealistic.

We spin our wheels trying to write that epic post. But we have a tendency to measure ourselves up so inadequately to those we admire — so much that, in the end, we don’t write anything.

This is something I’ve realized about myself that needs to change. I’m slowly learning that I cannot be great at everything — and thinking I can be — is merely a setup for self-doubt and failure.

It’s ok to focus on being great, but not at the expense of being good. The saying goes, “Inch by inch it’s such a cinch. Yard by yard it’s awfully hard.”

You can’t reach the summit unless you start at the base of the mountain.