“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~ Michelangelo
Let that sink in.
Now, read it again.
I had an interesting conversation the other day with one of my clients.
This person has lost over 70 lbs in the last couple of years, and along with receiving many compliments they were asked by a fellow co-worker, “When they were going to stop losing weight?”
This co-worker of theirs then went on to “inform” my client that no matter how hard they tried, “they would never look like the models in the magazines.”
Now, my client is realistic and understands that everyone has a different body type.
While they may never look exactly like a swimsuit model, with continued hard work and dedication there is no reason why this person couldn’t get pretty damn close.
Needless to say, their co-worker discouraged them a bit from continuing to strive to get into the best possible shape they could get into – to the point where they felt the need to ask me if this person was right.
This same exact day, I asked another one of my clients how their weekend was.
This person just turned 50, and has just found her passion for fitness and healthy eating.
They informed me that they woke up at 430 am on Saturday so that they could meet a group of friends for a 9 mile run.
Later that same afternoon, this person met up with another group for yoga.
Immediately after telling me just what a great time they had, they ended their story with, “I know, I have no life.”
Think about that.
This person just finished telling me what an awesome weekend they had had, but for some reason felt that this meant that they had “no life.”
Why is that?
I’m telling you these stories because they relate directly to Michelangelo’s quote above.
The two clients I mentioned in this post have extremely high standards for themselves.
They both started exercising later in life and are determined to be the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be.
The people around them – society – are determined to convince them otherwise.
Look all around you.
While I am sure that the folks surrounding you are extremely nice and good people, the truth is that most of them are just getting by.
They go to work.
Punch a clock.
Do their work.
Go to sleep.
And do it all over again the next day.
And over, again.
The fact of the matter is that most people set the bar too low for themselves.
And when they see someone reaching higher, whether consciously or not, they get intimidated.
They get scared.
Because if you can put your mind to something and accomplish it, then that means that so can they.
And they don’t want to believe that.
They want to believe that greatness is reserved for the Steve Jobs of the world, and the Jay Zs, Lebrons, and Oprahs.
In Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, he defines a fundamentalist as a person that considers whether a fact is acceptable to his religion before they explore it.
Most people follow the religion of Mediocrity and attend the church of Conformity.
They believe wholeheartedly that they are nothing more than average and that there is nothing they can do about it.
In their minds, greatness is nothing more than a combination of genetics and luck.
This wasn’t always the case though.
At one point in their lives they believed otherwise.
They had dreams and were determined to follow them no matter the cost.
Then something happened to them.
They gave up.
Now instead of following their dreams they follow the crowd.
They realized that it was easier to order a cheeseburger and fries than to prepare a salad the night before.
They realized that it was easier and more fun to get home on a Saturday morning at 430 than to get up at that time for a workout.
And because they converted to this ever so dominant religion they feel the need to tell you all about it.
“You’ll never look like that.”
“430 am on a Saturday? You have no life!”
Well, I’m here to tell you to reject fundamentalism.
Reject the notion that you are just average.
Be curious: curious of what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.
Explore the possibility that you can have the body you want.
That “having a life” doesn’t mean you drink all night to sleep your troubles away during the day.
That you can have the job you want, and the spouse of your dreams.
You can be great.
Because at the end of the day fundamentalism has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with outlook.
Ignore what society thinks is normal.
F the status quo.
Make your own rules.
Believe in yourself.
Do whatever it is you want to do with your life; and the next time someone discourages you, or tells you that you can’t do something, just nod, smile, and go prove them wrong.
Because at the end of the day, even if you don’t hit your mark, you’ll still end up higher than they’ll ever be!