For most of us, daily life erodes into a series of well-worn, comfortable routines. We go through each day doing pretty much what we did yesterday and in the same way. And tomorrow is destined to be pretty much the same. The patterns of daily life at home and work wear as easy as our favorite pair of jeans. When we reach a certain level of accomplishment, our competence become comfortable–just like those jeans. At work, the job gets done–completed in a timely fashion with reasonable quality. Businesses could not run without competent people doing what businesses need competently done. Like a cog in a finely made watch, competent performers can be relied upon to do their part time and again. These people are appreciated for their dependability, skill, knowledge and experience. Employers and colleagues are content with those who are competent, and in return, competent people are happy consistently meeting the expectations of others.
But for a few, competent is not enough. For them, competence is a trap. It is a trap that confines their abilities, creativity, imagination and potential. They have a yearning for something better than the norm. They have difficulty denying a desire to be more than ‘competent’. These individuals, and perhaps you are one, aspire for more. Perhaps it is to climb a higher place, meet a tougher challenge, test their upper limits, make a difference, have an impact, or simply to put the ‘extra’ in their ‘ordinary’. These are the people who embark on journeys that leave footprints that others will follow. For them “good enough” is not good enough. They see status quo as stale woe.
To satisfy their yearning, meet the challenge and set a new standard these people hunger for more knowledge, engage the new encounter, and devote themselves to mastering a richer set of skills. They eagerly trade the comfortable routine for the novel experience. They want to see more, know more, feel more, do more and do it better than they have ever done it before. Perhaps it was these people Theodore Roosevelt had in mind when he spoke these words: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” It is more comfortable to stand outside the arena than in. Where do you choose to stand?