Wednesday, February 10, 2016

GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND BETTER






Already February of 2016 and I finally took a good look at exactly what I expect of myself this year. I mean seriously…how good am I, and how can I be better at whatever I do?

Those of you who are bakers know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s all in the quality of the ingredients, the touch of your hands, and the energy from your heart. Nothing bakes a pie like love. Personally, I can’t bake at all. The term “Easy as pie” is a conundrum because it is, without exception, the most difficult thing on earth to me. Maybe I don’t have the touch or the heart for it, or maybe it’s just not something I’ve tried to be better at.

And therein lays the real issue. To set great goals that have any hope of success, one must determine exactly where one’s heart is. If I wanted to be the best pie baker in the world I’d have a long road ahead. This could be a ten year commitment because my heart just is not in it. Does that make me a bad person? Nope. Just a bad baker.

This silly exploration led me to a much larger picture—the difference between being good, being better, or maybe even being great. Am I a good person? Can I be better? Am I a good friend, lover, teacher, partner, or collaborator? Can I be better?

To improve at anything it takes dedication and heart. We all have loads of both, but this line between good, better, and great is very slender and has a habit of shifting as life moves on. We compromise and rationalize. “Ah well, it was better than last year,” we say with acceptance. But was it the better we were seeking?

With all our energies and expectations high for a glorious future it can be so easy to fall into a few traps, and the worst is being a little too ambitious. Past experiences tells me that I can’t loose fifty pounds, travel around the world, learn to water ski, and win the lottery in the next ten months, but oh how often I’ve jotted that list. It can’t happen, so rather than set myself up for failure yet again, or worse yet, the dreaded better than last year compromise, why not try something different? So, here goes!

For the first time in this woman’s life, I have chosen one and only one goal for the remainder of 2016. To be better at one thing. To perfect my practices with it. To believe that it will change something important in my life, and to never waver—not in the doldrums of the deep snowy February, not in the excitement of a summer week at the beach, not in the surprising and speedy coming of 2017. I have chosen something to be better at, and possibly great at. This is a breakthrough because, like almost everyone I know, commitment and habitual attention to one behavior or skill can do nothing but make us so much better at it!  Just…one…thing. One thing I can put my heart into and commit to. Now that’s a desire of the heart I can do with enthusiasm.

What does your heart want this February? What singular thing can you improve and enjoy the process of improvement?
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