“How Good Can You Be?”
By Brett W. Butler
A wise man once said the difference between success and failure is the questions we ask ourselves. So, here’s one for you: How good can you be?
Have you ever thought about that? How good can you be? Imagine for a moment the wealthiest, most successful person you know. What’s their story? Imagine your favorite athlete, or entertainer. Consider the greatest innovators and entrepreneurs of the last century. Imagine those who left a historical legacy. Do you think Steve Jobs asked himself that question? What about Tom Brady? Beyonce? Kobe Bryant? How about Bill Gates? Ali? Mahatma Gandhi?
How good of a mother or father can you be to your children? How good of a son or daughter can you be to your parents and siblings? How good of a salesman can you be? If you’re a teacher, how well can you teach your students? How healthy can you be? Are you in the best shape of your life whether you’re in your 20’s or 40’s? How good of a student of life can you be? Are you obsessed with learning, growing and raising your identity? Can you be better than most when it comes to saving money? If faith is important to you, what about spiritual growth? How many lives can you save?
How good can you be? Here are 5 points to help you answer that question:
1. Find purpose in what you do. Most people live life for momentary pleasure, some live with passion, and few live a purpose driven life. Whatever you do, if it’s defined by a strong, specific purpose, it will inspire you to keep getting better, and reaching beyond your potential. That purpose will carry you through adversity, and strengthen you for it.
2. When you live with purpose, you must also have an empowering list of affirmations and declarations that you speak into existence every day. What you tell yourself, whether it’s true yet or not, will define the decisions you make and the action you take to attract either abundance or poverty into your life. It’s your choice. When you speak positivity and blessing into your life each day, it will drive you to take action and create your own desired reality.
3. Don’t be afraid to be challenged and held accountable by those you respect. We all need a mentor, or somebody who has our best interests in mind. If you want to be in the best shape of your life this year, have somebody hold you accountable in that area. If you want to have your best sales year ever, or have a certain amount in savings, declare your intentions to somebody who will be brutally honest with you, and challenge you to keep your word. Growth never happens when we are comfortable. It happens when we are willing to get uncomfortable to change the things we don’t like about ourselves. Champions never stagnate, they evolve.
4. Learn to fail forward. It’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to learn nothing from the process. Failing forward means you learn from mistakes, change what didn’t work, and renew your resolve to make better decisions so the same mistakes or failures don’t keep happening.
5. Beat your prior best. In everything. If you’ve earned a $5000 sales commission in a month, go earn $6000 next month. If your prior best was $10,000 in savings, go work your tail off to have $20,000 in savings. Men, if you’ve never had a six-pack (and I don’t mean Budweiser), and you want one, set a goal and do whatever it takes until you have it. Ladies, maybe you only have 50 pairs of shoes, and you want 60….I’m kidding! Beating your prior best can apply to anything in life, but the point is, real growth and progress only happens when it’s measured and surpassed.
On May 6, 1954, 3,000 spectators in Oxnard, England watched Sir Roger Bannister run the first mile in under 4 minutes. Most of us know this, but did you know that he considered quitting altogether after failing to break the record at the 1952 Olympics? And the day he broke the record, Roger considered not running at all given the extremely adverse weather that day. What would have happened had he not ran that day? Do you think maybe he asked himself, regardless of the past failures and present conditions, “How good can I be today?” So many runners had failed before him. Yet, just 46 days later, Bannister’s record was not only broken, but over 50 years later the 1 mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds.
Robert Browning said, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?” If after reading this, you’ve asked yourself, “Wait a minute, it’s not how good can I be, but how great can I be?” You’re asking yourself the right questions, and you’re on your way. But if you’re now asking yourself “How good can I be?” and “great” is not yet in your vocabulary, that’s okay. The important thing is, keep asking those questions, and shatter the limitations of life. It’s a great life, and it deserves our best. So, how great can you be?