What Drives Us by Kristen Heitzmann

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.

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6 Responses to What Drives Us by Kristen Heitzmann

  1. Marianne says:

    Kristen….I love your novels! I will keep you in my prayers, hoping you know when to strive and when to let go. Keep calm and write on!

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  2. Shelly Foulk says:

    Balance is something we could all improve upon in our individual daily pursuits. Peace is
    found in striking that balance I imagine. But if we don’t push for the ridge ahead, no matter
    the mountain before us, how do we grow? How do we make a difference? I want to be a difference maker. never stop striving for excellence. Thank for being a difference maker.

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  3. Jackie Drake says:

    Lol…I’m atlmost at a loss for words, because you describe my own struggle so perfectly. There is a constant tension in my life between “good enough” and “my best”. And I do believe God desires me to give my best to Him. I am also learning that there is a significant difference between my best and perfection; expecting perfection is stifling and inhibits me from moving forward. So my personal mantra for this year is “persistence and progress not perfection”.

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