“All competition is not competition against another person.  It is competition against your previous lesser self.  We don’t like people who make excuses because it’s a cheat against that improvement.

Personal responsibility is to compete against yourself.  Am I slightly better today vs yesterday?

You say to yourself “I’m a flawed person and I have all of these problems.”  “Can I be as good as Person X” is not the right question.  “Can I be better than I was yesterday” IS the right question.

Only if you have the humility to set the bar properly low.

Just aiming up is heroic”

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

I think that this is a great perspective for today’s age.   We all see so many people flexing on Instagram.  And living their “best life.”

Too man times these aspirations seem sooooo far away that it doesn’t make sense to even try.   There is a weird counter-productive influence to these people who we choose to “follow.”

I think there are 2 important things to remember here:

  1. A certain percentage of what you see is bullshit.   You might see the smiles in the Maserati on Facebook.   But you don’t know that it’s a rental, or their buddy’s.  They also don’t post the stress on the days they have to come up the $900 car payment.   Be careful of what you buy with your brain.   Buyer beware.
  2. There is a cost to everything.   Even a girl who gets “insta-famous” by posting pics of her butt has to spend a bunch of time at the gym.  Also has to learn the social media game of attracting a following.   I mean, the game of selling looks on social media is a crowded bar at this point.   It’s still work to get an audience.   But also, think of the game as a whole.   They might be winning the first inning.   What’s going to happen when looks fade and you have to enter the “real world”?We all have to pay the cost.  And the cost is paid incrementally- every day.  And that’s what I love about Peterson’s quote.  It’s about taking personal responsibility to improve.   This whole blog is a product of me reading a bunch of books for self-improvement.   And I’m sharing it with you because I want you to be 1 step better today than yesterday with something you read.

I think that the last part of the passage was of particular insight.   “Only if you have the humility to set the bar properly low.”    Interesting.   Quite the contrast to all of the “shoot for the star” and “aim high” slogans we hear.   I guess that’s why he included “humility” in there.  What is it about someone that won’t take the first step to success today because they don’t think the distance of the step is far enough?

Be humble enough to realize the incremental gains multiplied by time, will always win.

The most monumental work on this concept is the book “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson.    Amazing book.   Let this post be a teaser of things to come.   I’m about half way through my noted to make a blog series, or even a talk.   It’s just that good.   Stay tuned.