Saturday, 24 October 2009

Competition and Surfing

I was reading Seth Godin talking about "Top this" the other day. There's a tension for me sometimes between doing better and doing things well. I'd like to think I get this balance right, but it's not true. Then there's too often a third strand - just getting it done. Doing enough to get by and hope no-one notices your heart has not been in it.

You might think this a little abstract, but then isn't a lot of what I write about! I applies to much of our lives though. Am doing just enough to be an *alright* Dad? Am I so competitive at work that I'll step on anyone to get ahead? Do I (metaphorically) beat myself up too much about making small mistakes or letting people down?

Overcoming a panchent for perfectionism is something I've been walking through for a while - but here it gets interesting:

To continually improve is the drive for self-perfection. To continually expect yourself to deliver great outcomes (be that product, art, food experiences) is the drive for self-fulfillment.

Does this leave (little or) no room for contentment? "I'm only satisfied when...[fill in the blanks]" says that right here & right now something just isn't good enough. An undisciplined, or perhaps unaware response is to look for something or someone to blame. Then that can lead to frustration and pushing even harder.

Ultimately, I think this tension can be our undoing. It can ruin our soul. I have no doubt that there's a great many things that I could have done better. I have no doubt that there's things in my character that can (and will) be improved.

But at the end of the day, I am where I am. Right now, this is who I am. This is what I have and what I can give.

My hope - my prayer - is that I live in the light of who I am in Jesus. There's a future I can co-create with the King, but I only want to do that by recognising that I can't do it on my own. I can't magic my way into the *dream* job (whatever that is!) or into having the *dream* house. I want to blow where the Spirit is going and ride the waves.

If I've learned anything in the past 30 years of living, it's riding the waves that will be much more fun than trying to make it all happen in my own strength.

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