It’s not good enough to be good enough anymore. It’s not good enough because I long to be great. To be exceptional. To dream up and share magnificent work that makes a meaningful impact on people. I want to make work that matters. Work that in the end was worth well worth the time and effort.
Good is not good enough. Not anymore, anyway. The cost of magnificence has to be paid. It has to be paid in full, but sometimes, I just don’t really feel so great. In those quiet moments I think I would even take feeling good enough. I often second guess my self worth and feel like my best efforts are just not good enough.
I know we need constructive criticism to become great, but it is a lot easier giving than receiving.
The world offers plenty of criticism.
Our day is filled with obsess-ant ways we are not good enough. We don’t have enough money, we live in the wrong neighbourhood, our house is too small, gas prices are too high, we are not very good parents, we don’t have enough education, it was better in the good old days, we have missed too many opportunities, and we are never good enough to do anything important, because there is always someone better.
This is probably why we have such mental illness pandemic and are so prone to blindly and comfortably holding on to our mistakes.
I don’t think we’ve ever been taught how to properly receive meaningful feedback or what to do with it. We have only become familiar with a worn out age old formula that goes something like this.
Say something nice. Say something not so nice. Than say something nice to make up for saying something not so nice, and avoid making contact.
Next, try to escape the uncomfortable mood you’ve created by looking at your feet, changing the subject, or slowly shuffling backwards out of the room, leaving the other person enough privacy to tearfully scrape off their heart from the dirty floor.
Because of the constant and incessant criticism that comes at us from every conceivable direction, we have grown accustomed and good at ignoring everything that seems nice. We only zero in on the negative.
We’ve become obsessed with our shortcomings and failures. We habitually ignore and dismiss any positive feedback because it feels very disingenuous, even when it’s not. We’ve lived with this formula for so long that it is all too easy to fall back on our bad habits. There are plenty examples in our homes, in school, and at work. We have evolved into picking out what’s wrong and ignoring what’s right.
But we’re wrong.
The people who give us constructive criticism do so because they believe in us. They give us the truth because they want us to be great. They already know we are capable and good enough, but they are really hoping we embrace our humanity and accept our call to greatness.
I think we need to become better, a lot better, at handling criticism. We have to be more conscious of not dismissing compliments, the way we dismiss each other our good mornings. I think we need to repeat and contemplate, all the positive things people see inside of us, precisely because it often feels unnatural and so uncomfortable.
It’s terribly sad that we’ve created such a not so nice world.
We have learned to live and accept the not so nice thoughts, and become resigned to live not so nice lives. We have created a world where we feel a bit out of place when we are great and happy. A world that is much better than we care to see or admit.
A world full of exceptional people.
People who are more than just good enough.
People who are great.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Branden Harvey via unsplash.com