I’ve come to believe there are two basic kinds of people–those who are content with good enough and those who feel a kick inside to always do better. There are benefits to both ways of thinking. The first yields peace of mind, low stress, and satisfaction–or I think it must, though I’ve never experienced it personally.
My husband and I use a brain training program with daily exercises. He will go through his training and grumble things like, “That’s my worst score ever,” then go on to the next challenge. I tell him he can play again and do better, but he says, “No, that’s how I did, now I’m moving on.” It might bother him, but not enough to change the outcome.
Now, I’m not saying I manically repeat every exercise every time, but, if I don’t get in my top five scores that thing kicks in and says, “Are you satisfied with that when you know you can do better?” It’s not a mean thing, more a checking in like, “How are you feeling about that score? Want another go?” It’s tenacity, I guess, or the understanding that there is always something to reach for.
That striving runs through everything I do. If I’m on the mountain trail all alone, puffing up a steep incline, chest aching, I tell myself, “You don’t have to do this. You can stop and no one cares or even knows.” And myself tells me, “Just push for that next ridge.”
It’s strongest of all when I’m creating, especially in writing. Lately, I’ve battled discouragement because it seems mediocrity is perfectly acceptable. I’m pretty sure it’s not even recognized as such. “Good enough” rules.
So it seems I’m constantly before the Lord. Is this pride, God, to want excellence to matter? Is it judgmental to cringe at errors I read and realize nine out of ten won’t know or care? Am I wrong to mourn such apathy? Maybe there’s a peace in accepting acceptable, but I’m not likely to experience it, because when I throw up my hands to the Lord, he says, “Just push for that next ridge.” And so I push.