What standards do you use to self-evaluate?
My husband started playing golf late in life and got really serious about it really fast. He found his whole day would get better or worse depending on how he was playing. Sometimes he got incredibly competitive with his best friend who had been playing years before my husband ever started. My husband says that internally he was telling himself that there was no reason he couldn’t come close to what pros did (even without any lessons).
He said a turnaround happened when another golfing friend (who also had been playing for years) told him, “Bogey golf is good golf for people our age.”
Many of us have internalized very, very high standards. While having high standards can be a spur to achievement, there’s a limit to their helpfulness.
As my coach said, “Trying to meet impossible standards is the fuel for depression.”
The First Lady adopted “Be Best” (not even “Be Your Best” or “Do Your Best”) as her focus. I find this a bit worrying. Everyone can’t be ‘best’ (whatever that is…) Synonyms for ‘best’ are unsurpassed and perfect. It’s pretty much saying that there’s only one person who can be best in any given area.
Even in terms of effort, best is almost an impossible standard. There’s a big myth in life that everything deserves our best. That simply isn’t true. Good enough is good enough for some things.
Is there a best way to wash dishes? Walk a dog? Feed a pet? Grade a paper? Garden?
I’m all for standards. I just want them to be based on what humans can genuinely aspire to and fulfill.
May we pursue our paths, choosing standards that inspire, not depress,