Every once in a while, yeah, even the best among us drop the ball. It happens. Maybe it’s a crappy client making too many unreasonable demands. Maybe it’s a huge project dropped on you at the last minute. Maybe your heart wasn’t into it – whatever it was. Maybe you just messed up. Or maybe you took on too much and there physically aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.
You take your licks. You learn. You make adjustments. You move on.
While failure or less-than-stellar performance occasionally make an unwelcome visit in our daily endeavors, some people make failure a daily companion.
Heck, some people like to make it their M.O.
With them, there is always a good reason why something didn’t get done. Why goals couldn’t be met. Why something couldn’t be accomplished. There was a barricade. They’re still waiting for the email from so-and-so. The map was wrong. The system doesn’t give them visibility to some critical file they need. The situation changed and they couldn’t get in touch with their superior. There wasn’t a gas station for miles. No one gave them the customer list. There were too many bullets flying at them. There was too much distance between them and the finish line. There were too many distractions along the way. There were too many Persians.
Truth: There were too many obstacles in their heads. Too many reasons why sitting on their asses and waiting for someone to come bail them out seemed like a better option than getting the job done in spite of a few insignificant hurdles.
As I said earlier, perhaps it’s a question of upbringing. Perhaps it’s a question of education. Perhaps it’s a question of pride or culture or personality. The point is that not everyone is cut out to be a leader, and for some of us whose mentality leans towards the “excuses are for suckers” camp, that is sometimes difficult to accept.
Cinemax showing 300 every ten minutes isn’t helping either.
There is no doubt that if everyone in Corporate America (or if educators and students) took their work as seriously as Spartans took soldiering, American companies would indeed be something to behold.
Yet, many of them fall short of their potential.
And now, a reading from The Book of Gym Jones:
If you weren’t given the gift you can’t get the gift so the best you can do – if your goal is important – is work as hard as you possibly can, pay attention every hour of every day and then maybe, maybe if you’ve done enough and been smart enough you’ll emerge from the muck of mediocrity to shine a bit brighter than you shone before. Then, upon reflection you might decide your goal is a bit more important so you’ll start paying attention every minute of every hour of every day. You’ll find people who are better than you and you’ll take an empty cup when you meet them. Their example will destroy or inspire you and if it’s the latter you may stay and learn. You might imitate, doing as they do because you’ve already accepted that you do not know best – if you did you’d be leading the group they were trying to join. Perhaps being exposed to their superior ability will drive you to work harder than you thought possible, or necessary. Maybe you’ll overcome your self-imposed (or worse, society-imposed) limitations and shine even more brightly. Wow, you’re getting it: positive reinforcement for hard work and suffering. So maybe you give your goal even more significance and you begin cutting away the ideas and the expectations and the people who you believe prevent you from achieving it. Now you become a real selfish prick, and you begin paying attention every second of every minute of every hour of every day, and you sustain your awareness for weeks and months at a time. You no longer think yourself a unique snowflake, you’re a steel-edged blade shaped like a snowflake and you’re spinning at warp speed. You’re the biggest fish in the pond. You’re a badass. Now you have options.
1) If you think you haven’t yet done enough, and you could do more, you might begin to understand that, the more capable you become, the higher the mountain rises ahead of you. At that moment you may recognize the existence of a legitimately serious group, ahead of you, above you, somewhere you’re not. They are silent, implacable, constantly improving and evolving and because they are truly capable they are accessible to those who are genuine. Among them there’s no defensiveness, no posturing or pretending, and they aren’t interested in anyone else’s. Selection for such a group isn’t based on physical performance alone. Issues of character and commitment, and discipline and persistence balance physical talent. Because you clawed your way out of the muck, were “up all night, dedicated” and maintained interest for long enough to differentiate yourself from the short-attention-span sporting dilettantes who commonly brush up against this group they might accept you as an apprentice. If you empty your cup your chances are better. If you redouble your efforts your odds improve again.
2) If however, you think you’ve done enough or you decide you have “arrived” then you’ll stay in the small pond and stagnate. And when the rot is complete you’ll be just a little bit better than those around you – your initial example will have driven them to reach higher levels of performance – and there you’ll sit, an intellectually bloated, pontificating fuck who once had the juice to work hard but having done so feels entitled to coast on past success all the way to the grave. That’s when you’ll start offering opinions based on the certainty of your own short-lived, amateur experience.
Have a great Tuesday, everyone…and EAT HEARTY, FOR TONIGHT, WE DINE IN HELL!!!!!
um… sorry. It happens every time I watch it.
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