Do you remember awards from childhood? In almost any activity, sport, or camp, I distinctly remember a set of awards being given out at the end.
Highest Scorer, Best Defense, Most Assists, etc.
Then there was the dreaded one: Most Improved
Even at six years old, we all knew what that meant. “We were embarrassed for you when you first got here… and now… not as much. Congratulations.”
Not quite the same prestige as Highest Scorer. We wanted to be good. That’s all we wanted. Who cares about improving?
But as we grow older, that thinking is not really beneficial. Here’s why:
Being good is comfortable. And comfort leads to complacent. If you aim for good, you’re aiming for a comfortable state… one that’s hard to grow from. We’re mostly driven to either avoid pain or pursue pleasure. And comfort is neither of those two. It’s the barren wasteland of motivation. Comfort is the black hole of achievement.
Give us pain, and we will work like crazy to emerge from it. Show us something worth striving for, and we will work harder, longer, and faster to achieve it. Make us comfortable, and we will wither.
In other words, being good today brings the danger of being good permanently. Better leads to constant improvement. Better bypasses good on the way to incredible, amazing, and awesome.
Nothing that changes the world is ever just “good”. No cause worth joining is because it’s “good”. Wireless electricity won’t be created by a series of good inventions. Cancer won’t be cured by good thinking. And this blog won’t grow by a bunch of good posts.
No, I’m going to start with embarrassing, and aim for better. Tomorrow, it will be not as embarrassing. And hopefully sometime in the future, it will be great!