One of the great truths of life is that there is no finish line. Every single day brings with it an opportunity to blow it, to crush it, or to simply gator-arm it.
When we’re too focused on the finish line, we tend to ignore the glories as well as the injustices that are right there in front of us. Both are worth paying attention to.
Ok so we all know to stop and smell the roses. I say, stop and feel the rose thorns too. They are a daily reminder that things can be better – that in almost all things there is meaningful opportunity to improve.
This, then, is the pursuit. Not of perfection, but instead of better.
Perfection, to the extent that it might exist, is boring. It’s only downhill from there.
To be better everyday is an everyday pursuit – your reason for getting out of bed every morning. Every single day is a chance to make a fundamental change, or perhaps take the first step toward some fundamental change.
By not focusing on some far off goal, I can concentrate on the task right in front of me, and pursue it for the simple reason that it might move me a little closer to better.
I like better. It’s comparative. I can benchmark it. Was I better today than I was yesterday? And the time periods of measurement can be short, really short. As in, was I better in my 2 pm meeting that I was in my 1 pm meeting?
Perfect has a far more complex, and debatable, scorecard.
Better also enables me to focus specifically. As in, I really need to be a better listener. Let me practice that, explicitly using a few tools, and put those tools to work in my very next meeting. I can keep the areas of focus specific, and the time periods in which I apply them short.
Without better, we’d be mired in a world of good. Good is so boring. There’s too much good in the world – we need to passionately pursue great. Chasing better, everyday, gets us more in the direction of great.
And great, as far as I can tell, is a pretty worthwhile goal.