Think of something that you’re currently working on and ask yourself with no judgement, can I do better?
When you’re not getting what you want out of life and things aren’t quite going your way, it’s easy to blame external things.
But sometimes the reason things aren’t working out is because you need to do better.
Maybe you’ve gotten lazy or maybe you weren’t aware of the effort required.
Once you’ve realised you need to do better, do better.
Yes, it really is that simple.
A movie is kind of like a summary. It only focuses on the key parts and skips or at least fast forwards the mundane bits.
6 months of hard work is displayed in 10 minutes split across the movie in various montages and short scenes. It looks much easier on the big screen.
In less than 2 hours the lead manages to fall in and out of love then back into it again. You find yourself wondering how on earth to even meet someone.
But what movies are great at is showing moments.
We all have those good bits in our lives, in among the chaos, stress and challenges.
And more often than not they’re even better than the movies because they’re real and they’re happening to you.
It’s something you’ll have no doubt read or heard countless times but it’s true, some things really do get better with time.
Maybe you’re a teenager (or even an adult) feeling like you don’t belong, you’ve experienced a harsh rejection or you have a physical injury.
In the height of it, you might not be able to see a way out. The possibility for change might seem like nothing more than a fantasy. I think thats because more often than not (when it comes to lasting change anyway), it happens so slowly that we never notice it in the moment.
But then a few months later you’re able to look back on that rejection as a growth point rather than a blow to your self-esteem.
Would you rather do something average and deliver it on time or to a high standard and late?
Many people get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect. It can get to the point where it’s difficult to hand in the completed work because that means letting go. Now the work is in someone else’s hands and you’re open to their critique or feedback.
On the other hand, submitting something average might seem like the wrong thing to do but that’s not always the case.
Firstly, let me clarify that by average I mean something you haven’t spent an excessive amount of time on. Some thing that is good but if you had a few more days or weeks would be so much better.
The thing is that sometimes progress is better than perfect.
In the case of my original question, you have two options.
You can submit late and to a high standard and then hope overtime you get better at meeting deadlines.
On the other hand, you can commit to always delivering on time and know that with practice your average will get better.
A question I’m learning to ask myself without judgement?
It’s easy to judge yourself and in doing so you’re not likely to answer the question in a way that is helpful.
You’ll be likely to find yourself caught up in a woe is me story-line. Your answer will be something like: ‘Well, I’m trying and it’s just not working out the way I want and I wish it could be better but maybe I’m just not good enough…’.
That sort of mentality isn’t helpful and it won’t result in growth, development or progress.
When it comes to improving on something you can’t attach emotions to your critique because it isn’t personal.
When asking the question Can I do better? it isn’t even really about a yes or no answer because one could argue that you can always do better. Instead it’s about whether you are happy to put out the thing you’ve created or the work that you’ve done.
Through challenging times it’s always helpful to find ways of boosting morale.
A common way of doing this is through bringing people together.
Very little compares to the feeling of people being united for a common cause. When that cause is gratitude, it really can help people feel connected to each other.
Right now a lot of people are becoming aware of the contributions that particular people make in society.
Despite everything that is going on there is this sense of ‘things aren’t particularly great right now but there are people showing up everyday that are helping to make things a little bit better or easier and I’m grateful for it‘.
I think just knowing that there are people showing up even though it’s difficult is enough to make us all feel a little bit better.
Or maybe it should be good vs better.
Sometimes better is worse than good but we think that good is enough so we don’t aim for better. The mindset of a Bare Minimum Betty often lies in the good zone.
Because when your bare minimum is good enough why would you do any better.
If you choose to aim for better that could mean a variety of things, a key one being commitment but it’s more than that.
Aiming for better is:
Trying something new that in the words of Seth Godin ‘might not work’
Doing more than you have to
Looking for ways to improve
Offering to help someone else
Short answer: there is no use.
If it doesn’t feel good to feel bad then why not try something else?
It’s easy to feel bad about yourself when things go wrong but ruminating on that feeling isn’t likely to help you improve and get better at whatever you’re working on.
Perhaps asking yourself ‘what could I have done better?’ might be more useful.
Then take whatever is on that list and give them a go one by one until you find something that helps you improve.
I have no doubt that will be much more useful than the previous approach.
Not those of others but your own.
I think a lot of people have expectations for what they want out of life. And despite the popular phrase that goes something like ‘If you’re dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough’, high expectations can be overwhelming.
But something that I’ve learnt is that you have to be committed and pace yourself. If you truly want to achieve something it shouldn’t be conditional, you should be dedicated to it.
I’ve also found it useful to check in and like to refer back to something Seth Godin once said about how you’re either talking to the wring people or you’re not making good enough stuff.
And I’m at a point where I can see that just because I’m trying hard doesn’t mean what I’m producing is good enough for the outcome that I want.
When that happens I take a step back and re-group. I think about what I’m doing that is good and how I can make it better.
My expectations of myself are quite frankly ridiculous which is why I find them overwhelming. Plus, I often make the mistake of focusing too much on the end goal instead of simply just doing the work.
I don’t have a roundup or a takeaway as I’m still learning how to manage the expectations I have of myself.
However, what I will share is that if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or frustrated you probably need to change what you’re doing or the way you’re thinking.
If you’re an avid reader of this site you may notice that I actually haven’t posted every single day.
You may also notice that the day after I don’t post, I post twice.
I could just backdate a post to the previous day and pretend that I didn’t forget but I did forget and I’m okay with that.
Granted I don’t want to make a habit of it but I think it’s important to not get too frustrated.
Beating myself up about it won’t make me any less frustrated either.
And so instead I try figure out why I forgot and do my best to avoid it happening again.
Turns out the reason I forget is because I get the dates mixed up when I schedule posts in advance. An easy way to fix that is to set a reminder on my phone, problem solved.