If you are content with the best you have done, you will never become the best you can be –Unknown
Life is meant to be progressive and dynamic in nature; what we do today and how we do it must outstrip yesterday’s. In other words, regardless of your achievements, accolades, or impact in the past, you can still outperform them. You are supposed to be a better person than you were yesterday; hence, your approach and strategies in life should be more enhanced and efficient than they were in the past.
Choose to always evolve into a superior person daily than you’ve been a day, week, month, or year prior. Someone once said, “If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven’t done much today.”
Since the dawn of time, civilizations have been mining the earth for its natural resources and have still not scratched even the surface of the wealth buried in the earth. Likewise as human, buried within us is an enormous wealth of resources (gifts, endowments, and capabilities) so much that even if we’re to live up to 1000 years, we still wouldn’t be able exhaust them all.
Therefore, don’t be too enamored with past successes at the expense of your present or future feats. In the words of American businessman and writer, Max De Pree, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
In likening human growth to the transitional growth of a lobster, Brent Mitchell said:
From time to time, lobsters have to leave their shells in order to grow. They need the shell to protect them from being torn apart, yet when they grow, the old shell must be abandoned. If they did not abandon it, the old shell would soon become their prison- and finally, their casket.
The tricky part for the lobster is the brief period of time between when the old shell is discarded and the new is formed. During that terribly vulnerable period, the transition must be scary to the lobster. Currents gleefully cartwheel them from coral to kelp. Hungry schools of fish are ready to make them a part of their food chain. For a while at least, that old shell must look pretty good.
We are not so different from lobsters. To change and grow, we must sometimes shed our shells — a structure, a framework — we’ve depended on.
Scottish jurist, politician and historian, James Mackintosh argued that “It is right to be contented with what we have, never with what we are.” One of the stifles to growth is being swayed or carried away by the applauds, admiration, and appellation of your friends and loved ones when you seem to have achieved some level of success.
Sometimes deep within the recess of your spirit, you know that what people deem as incredible and brilliant from you might not even be a scratch on the surface of your potential because you are nowhere near your best.
Seeking to grow and reach for the best, constantly calls for the following suggestive steps:
Give your best — It is highly imperative to put your best foot forward in whatever activity, profession, or situation you find yourself in. It has been said, “Do only what is required of you and remain a slave. Do more than is required and become free.” That is to say, if you want to be the best you all the time, you have to choose to go the extra mile by doing more than it’s required of you at any given moment in life.
Discover your passion — The desire to sacrifice or pursue your dreams, goals, and purpose in life regardless of the threat of failure, rejection, the storms of life, and unknown is what separate achievers from mere dreamers. When you discover your passion in life, it will intrinsically produce an unparalleled hunger and thirst for growth in spite of what may come against you in life. “It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness,” James Barrie.
Passion makes you like what you do in life and ask for more.
Desire for more — To become a better person than you’ve been, you have to learn to desire to grow by placing a demand on your gift, talent, and abilities. Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer, Michelangelo prayed, “Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”
Compete with your potential — Let your potential be your competitor and your standard. Competing with your potential puts pressure on you to become the person you see inward.
It is great to be challenged by others but never seek to be like them; be your own original by making your potential a competitor and touchstone. “Every day, people settle for less than they deserve. They are only partially living or at best living a partial life. Every human being has the potential for greatness,” Bo Bennett.
Put yourself in a growth environment — “A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends,” Ralph Waldo Emerson. The environment you place yourself in always determines your growth. Choose to surround yourself with people who desire greatness, excellence, and have high respect for principled-centered living and you would inevitably do likewise.
There is always more room for growth in life irrespective of where you are and what you are doing. If you are a married person, there is room to be a better husband or wife, father or mother; if you are a businessperson, there is always an opportunity to grow in the delivery of your services to your clients and industry. There is always more creativity and innovation in you to be the best.
If you are a pastor or a person called into ministry, you can become better by refining your gifts and talents privately through extensive studies and developmental training, conferences, media resources, and mentorship programmes.
You can become a better employer, employee, citizen, student, child, etc., only if you dare to challenge yourself to stretch beyond your comfort zone and reach for the best in life.
To unleash your potential and realise your purpose to its fullness, you need to shift the paradigm in your thinking, attitude, and outlook in life. You can always become a better person if you choose to break away from certain outmoded and sterile traditions (how things used to be done) which are no more relevant in this age.
Remember, the future only belongs to those who can swiftly adapt to change by seeing the world differently and by doing things differently in their pursuit for better life. Great people are perpetual learners. They understand the value of continuous development of their abilities, mental faculties as well as unceasing communion with their inner self.