When not being the best is better

I was recently at my daughters drama class and the teacher was talking us through how they put a play together in a the 1 hour lesson that she has every week, she (the teacher) was a very animated character and dare I say exactly what I would have pictured a drama teacher to be, very pronounced without shouting and very keen on the detail of instruction she was giving, her opening line when we all arrived was that she wanted to show the parents of the attendees what it was that they do there and how they form a lesson and the goals they are trying to achieve when they do, one of the things that she said during this speech got me thinking and I wanted to share my thoughts in case anybody wished to share their view.

“It is not about being perfect or even getting the words right all the time it is about doing and learning as they go, there is so much talk about being the best version of yourself these days and always striving to be perfect that people especially children must be exhausted”

I have extolled the virtues of striving for perfection on many an occasion and it is only now that I started to think that pushing for perfection is not only futile in occasions where the result is forced to be a product of collaboration but sometimes so tiring that it becomes a very draining ethos, which could potentially be destructive, and ultimately subverting our goals as we struggle to achieve them through the brain fog of exhaustion.

Now, anybody who has read anything I have done will be familiar with the fact that I like to have proof of something before I will adopt or attempt to pass it on as information to others, and this is no exception, I watched in wonder as this teacher, without raising her voice to a shout moved 15 children aged between 6 and 12 through this play that they had seen for the first time that night, and after just 45 minutes, we had a 10 minute play where I would say 85% of timings were correct and dialogue was remembered, the children had started to add complimentary movement to their parts and had started to extend their lines all within context, it was astounding to see all these different personalities working together and learning through enjoyment.

I am not saying that there is not a place for perfection and striving to be the best, merely that we need to recognise that moment of fatigue in all of us and act on it, lighten up a bit and realise that forced progress is sometimes slower and always a lot harder than relaxed progress, Bruce Lee was famous for the 1 inch punch and always taught pupils to relax the muscles of the hand and arm while punching as a tight clenched fist cannot travel as fast as a relaxed one, he was right and this was proved in many demonstrations the same can be said for the mind, a stressed “tight” mind will never learn as quickly as a relaxed one that is open and has time to spare.

I guess what I saw was not really the play about the Russian Cave that was being performed but rather that changing from the intense method of corrective education i.e. “that was wrong” or “do it again you weren’t on time” to a more lead form where the word wrong was never used, not even once despite some initial lines being quoted wrong and a couple of missed cue’s, was that when we are all relaxed we learn quicker, we retain more information and with a greater accuracy, so I guess what I am saying is if you are struggling with a subject or a method, be it academic or entrepreneurial then instead of beating yourself up and getting stressed, essentially blocking your own progress you should stop, take a deep breath (or two depending on how stressed you are) and look at what you are doing for what it is, try and find the enjoyment in your activity, and do not berate yourself for making mistakes, every fortune and large company was built on a foundation of error, that is how we learn, approach new concepts or technical challenges as an opportunity to a burden and you will see that as cortisol levels drop your whole mental state will become less toxic and you will move along at a faster pace than you ever thought possible.

Multi-tasking is a Myth – Don’t Get Caught By It

Just a quick thought really, while trying to get a substantial amount of my affairs in order I found that while trying to do several things at once I was getting confused and tired and actually started to slow down my progress, the fact is that we are told what we have to do in this modern world, is “multi-task” , no such thing, Multi-tasking, as I have said before, is merely doing a lot of things with less focus than you would completing one task with full focus, it is only a quick post as I wanted to simply try and remind the world, or at least the 30-ish people that read my blog, to take some time to focus, and then smash the task at hand out of the park, really give it your full attention and you will find that tasks are completed quicker and with more accuracy, allowing you to move along to the next with ease and with the greater focus that is gained by the reassurance the previous one was done correctly.

I implore you to realise that the quickest way to move from point A to point B is in a linear fashion, Multi-tasking is not linear and requires a lot more effort than simply pushing forward in a straight line, hope you have a great day and achieve more by using a linear approach to tasks and completing them quickly and with precision.

Determination – Your Power, Your Journey

All to often we allow the power of self fulfilling prophecy to work against us, for a job interview we will continually think we are going to be late and end actually making ourselves late, or we convince ourselves that the guy or girl that we like would never like us so we don’t make an effort for fear of failure and guess what ? they never notice us!

Internal dialogues and self talk happen all day, every day, if we are aware of it or not, decisions are made on a subconscious level that determine the directions our lives take, with the exception of the very urgent “fight or flight” decisions these are all made with Reason and after an internal dialogue where we weigh up the chances of success versus failure and then act accordingly.

The problem with these conversations is that for most us they are biased against us this is most likely due to self preservation, and is not something that we all feel to equal measure.

Believe in Yourself!

How many times have you heard this, just believe in yourself and all will be well, it is more difficult however than it sounds as this requires the changing of your whole inner dialogue, you must reverse a subconscious level of thinking (not easily done) and you must find a way to remove the limits that you have set without knowing it, I personally am a firm believer in the power of the human spirit, years of observation have seen me notice that on some level my inner dialogue, my narrative that exists only in the deepest parts of my mind, influence and shape the world around me, and very rarely for the better I can tell you.

Break the cycle

Human behaviour is learned through pattern and repetition, for both motor skills and thought process, we ultimately become a product of our upbringing because this is the behaviour we see everyday, and so it becomes ingrained into our thought processes and our personalities, but we can change it, we can make a shift from one cycle to another, there is no shortage of research on making and breaking habits and one in particular found that it took nearly 12 weeks to form a habit and some people took nearly 254 days so don’t be too concerned if you have been telling yourself in the mirror that you are great for three days and you don’t feel any different.

Make Your Gestures Big

I used to be a nightclub doorman (bear with me) and I feel that tackling this situation is a lot like that, by the end of the night people were largely inebriated and their thought processes were impaired, conscious thought was cloudy and they were mostly running on sub-conscious activity to find their way home, my job, among others was to clear out the bar / club at the end of the night and I found after working this job for some twenty years that there was a very effective and distinct way to deal with this situation, you see shouting and hollering was not the answer, because hostility is just returned and talking quietly and not really making your presence felt was also pointless because you weren’t enough of an annoyance to cause an effect,

The most effective way to deal with this was to stand just that bit closer than you would normally, so you are not threatening but you are completely unavoidable and speak loudly and calmly repeatedly requesting that they leave as the night is over, and if you kept your cool and were patient the message got through within about 5 minutes for the lest drunk and the ones that could hardly stand got the idea within about 20 minutes.

My point is that I was dealing with people in the same mindset as we are when addressing our sub-conscious and trying to change what it wants to do, we are comfortable where we are and we feel safe because we are familiar with our surroundings, conscious thought that can reason that change is a positive is not in play and so we do not want to move, getting angry with ourselves is futile because we just become angry back and break all communication and trying to change a habit by gently whispering to ourselves each day just won’t cut it, we won’t hear the whispers,

The only way is speak clearly and unmistakably every time you get the chance, challenging all the things that you are convinced you are no good at, and don’t stop, don’t give up on yourself.

Determination is measured by the progress you make through adversity.

Me

Technique

Effectiveness is often mirrored by simplicity, I wouldn’t go downt he route of tying string round your finger or setting alarms to sit and concentrate on bigging yourself up, rather you need to start to listen, listen to your inner dialogues and start to recognise where they are working against you, and simply change the dialogue, as I have said previously change “I can’t” to “I can’t at the minute”, change “I am not good enough” to “I am not ready yet”, leave everything open ended, without the ability for your inner dialogue to close the door on a discussion you can modify the direction and message until you naturally follow the more positive path, take time to meditate, even if it sounds a little hokey and you feel silly doing it, by removing the outside noise of everyday life, even for 5 minutes, you can concentrate on what you are thinking and feeling and challenge all these beliefs you have about yourself,

Spirituality is not just banging gongs and Joss sticks (sorry if I offended anybody, seriously if you want to bang a gong then crack on!) it is about harnessing your own spirit and gaining from it, the foundation of success is much deeper than a bank account, but that account is much more achievable from a basis of inner strength.

Photo by Mike from Pexels

Quitting is not always a bad thing.

Motivators and influencers will constantly shout at you that you should never quit, we are told that if we just work hard at something then success will come, sadly this is not the case and we need to try and identify when this point has been reached and how to bow out gracefully taking the lessons you have learned and using them to move forward in another direction.

Are you one of those people that just won’t quit? constantly banging away day after day not getting anywhere and making yourself depressed at the lack of progress and tired of failure, if you are then you are not alone, the huge runaway success of the internet and social medias early adopters has spurred on a global group of gold diggers all trying to make their name and carve out their own slice of paradise, the hours that go into the videos and the editing and the uploading, days trying to write blogs and researching different subjects only to get no actual views just likes so people get their avatar on your page should somebody else happen past it and think to click on their link.

And I can’t blame anybody for doing this, we all want to become rich and we all want the good life, believe it or not I do still think it is achievable, you just have to know when to quit something that is not working and replace it with a new direction and a new potential.

So I had a thought and have come up with what I think to be indicators that it is time to find another path, not everybody will agree with these and some of them are a bit hard to hear but ultimately as Paul Newman says in the color of money “find something you are good at and be the best and you will make money”.

Are you happy ?

Well are you? honestly? does what you are doing make you happy, if not then it may well be time to move on, emotions are transmitted very easily through the way somebody writes or holds themselves on screen, or even talks in a podcast, if you are not happy how can you expect anybody else to buy into you ?

Is it your passion ?

A passion is an easy thing to quantify, is this something that you would do even if there were no potential money in it ? I know this sounds like are you happy ? but it is not, eating large quantities of chocolate makes me happy but I am not passionate about it, I am passionate about health and education and the things that money provides, I am also very passionate about American Cars, huge V8’s that breathe and shake the ground as they pass, the subjects you are passionate about you will talk about for hours to anybody at anytime whether they like it or not!

Is it honest ?

By this I don’t mean are you trying to con anybody, what I mean is best explained by example, if there was a guru out there that claimed by simply standing on a carrot for 10 minutes a day you could flush all the toxins from your body extending your life and happiness, would you be able to extol the virtues of the system without trying it for yourself ? conversely if it turned out to be true could you push the subject even in the face of the opposition that it would surely get ?

Can you accept that you are not good enough ?

This is possibly the hardest thing to accept because we are told that we can do anything if we just try, and I suppose I do buy into the idea that with enough practice you can become proficient at just about anything, but we have to be practical as well, this whole blog and site is about trying to rise above normality, to become the best we can be and to make a future filled with life rather than slavery and toil at the hands of our masters, here is a secret, I suck at playing guitar, I still do it but I am slow and clunky and just haven’t got that spark of ability it takes to become a guitarist, I can however play along to quite a few songs and if you heard me you would think I was OK, but I could never make a living out of it because I am simply nowhere near good enough, you don’t have to look far to see how good life can be if you are the best at playing guitar, I am sure Steve Vai often thanks whatever force made him pick up a six string and start playing.

That is really it, there is no section on how long you have been trying because in truth that is irrelevant things will take as long as they take, and as long as you haven’t got a bizarre idea like literally building a staircase to heaven you will get to where you want to be, but without the above I really don’t see that it is possible.

An important point to remember is that quitting does not mean failure it simply means a new beginning and a wiser traveller.

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pexels

You do need to be number 1 – trust me.

Popular culture has told us for years now that we do not have to be the best at what we do or strive to do, our education systems have largely developed a process by which the class progresses at the speed of the slowest pupil, this is has resulted in over inflated school ratings as the overall bar is lowered and a decrease in specialist subjects being taught at all as they give way to more general subjects that are harder to grade effectively as the factors for evaluation become vast through diversification of the subject matter.

But who actually suffers from this new way of working ? the educators and the governments around the world will have you believe that it makes for a more level playing field, that this kind of broad baseline teaching provides all pupils with the same opportunities, but the reality is something quite different, you see by creating an environment where everybody is taught at the same level in the same way with no recognition of aptitude does not create a level playing field rather it holds back the pupils that would excel and invariably gets them the reputation of troublemaker as boredom sets in, or it highlights the shortcomings of pupils that haven’t got an aptitude for the subject in front of a jury of the cruellest peers, children, so you can see how this is detrimental to both parties, the children that are bored have their future coloured by the term troublemaker, and are treated accordingly and the struggling kids start to lack confidence and become either shy or overly overt as a compensation, both scenarios achieve the exact opposite of the intended result.

This is largely a product of lack of money in the system, and in most cases a spin put on that lack of funding by governments trying to juggle ever decreasing budgets and ever increasing debt, but the irony here is that a countries wealth is a product of it’s population and it’s capability to participate on the world stage, so effectively we stay in a loop forevermore where we do not invest in youth to provide a better future for all, instead we choke the education system and make the youth fight for a future that is uncertain, and we wonder why they lack motivation.

This level playing field extends into adulthood as well, the evidence is excessive, people that did not do well at school becoming billionaires such as Sir Alan Sugar, 1 GCSE and he is worth 1.4 Billion, Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school initially, Deborah Meaden of Dragons Den fame left school before her A-levels and is now worth over 40 Million, and Sarah Millican Failed hers, what sets these people apart is that they pursued what they wanted to do and they did it with a goal in mind, to be the number 1 in their chosen field, now with the vast majority of these examples it could be argued if they are number one in their fields, possibly some people might not find Sarah Millican funny, or there may be people with more money than Deborah Meaden, but if we think about it we would all like to be a pound behind them, or make it as a performer, we just had it beaten out of us in our youth.

That is why I say you DO need to be number one, in your own mind at least, you need to strive everyday to be number one at what you want to do, because if you don’t believe that people in most cases excel at what it is they want to do then just Google around for a while, in fact very few of the most successful people in this world have got a strong academic background, that is not to say that academia is worthless, far from it, the world runs on the work of academics, and without them we would still be in the caves trying to get a fire going, my point is that equality is not only a good thing to try and achieve in society but the only thing, we just have to remind ourselves what it actually means.

Equality should mean the opportunity to excel and be successful, to not live a life in fear and poverty, to not eek out an existence daily just waiting for the cold hand of the reaper, it SHOULD mean the opportunity to live a good and happy life regardless of age, race, religion, ability or sexual orientation, and I think that as a society we have forgotten that, we need people to fall within a budget or a qouta, and the only way to make people fit into statistics is to manipulate the system until those people appear, the fact is nobody is going to do it for you, if you want the life you see when you close your eyes at night you are going to have to fight for it no matter what that takes.

So that is why I say that you need to be number ONE in your own mind that is what you are striving for, don’t look at your heroes and claim that you can’t get there because they have a natural talent, don’t let yourself off the hook by saying they are just better than me, substitute Talent for Aptitude, and Better for More Hardworking, to say that a person is a NATURAL TALENT is often to negate the huge amount work and dedication that they put in everyday to get where they are, and if you put in the same amount of work everyday you would get there too, the education system may have failed you (it equally may not have failed you too) but if you want greatness stop the excuses given to us by a society that has lost it’s ambition, and drive yourself to be Number One at what you want to do, and you will find happiness, some careers are better paid than others and some jobs too, but I promise if you are the best at what you do, at least within your peer group, then you will find a happiness and a calm that goes along with doing something you love.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Emotional intelligence – thought before action.

Hiring criteria changes about as often as the poles, but even employers are recognising that the ability to think slow and reasoned even when under pressure makes for a better employee, and if you can master it will help you in your own financial and health journey too, never beat yourself up over things, always listen to constructive criticism and help others where you can.

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/7-reasons-why-emotional-intelligence-is-one-of-the-fastest-growing-job-skills?utm_source=pocket-newtab