I want, in my life, to always be in the best. Not "the best", but in the list of bests. One of the top 10%. One of the few. The kind of person whose notes you would borrow ... but who doesn't sit in the front of the class. I want to know about American literature, but I don't want to be an American lit expert, because I also want to know a little bit about calculus and a little about herbal supplements and I don't have enough gray matter to be expert in everything.
I want to know just enough.
This extends to every area of my life.
I want to eat healthfully, but not to the point of being vegan, counting calories, or cutting out coffee.
I want to stay fit and slim, but I'm just there - I'm not super skinny, not super strong, nothing that would require extra effort.
I want an A in every class, but I'm happy with a 97 instead of a 100 (but not a 94. Let's not cut things TOO close).
I don't want to look like a slob, but I absolutely refuse to "do my hair". It looks good enough with just a brush. And I look good enough with just concealer.
|My sis and I obviously both subscribe to the "Who does their hair?" theory. I think we look good enough!|
Why am I like this? Shouldn't I feel bad for not trying my hardest or giving it my all or doing the best that I can?
Yes and no. Here are my reasons for this philosophy.
1. I'm all about expending minimal calories. When I read Cheaper By the Dozen as a child, the character of the father instantly clicked with me. His job was to devise ways to save movement and energy - basically to make processes more efficient. I thought, "That's the job for me!" I had always done the same thing. How can I clean the bathroom with the least actual work involved? How can I arrange the boys' bedrooms so that getting dressed only requires opening two dresser drawers?
And nowadays it's more like, How can I qualify for the Boston Marathon with only 9 seconds to spare? How can I get to work exactly at 10 am, not 9:58 (but not 10:02 either)? How can I make a good beef stew using the crock pot and taking exactly 4 minutes of prep time instead of a great beef stew in the dutch oven taking 40 minutes of prep time? How can I know enough music theory to carry a tune and understand music without actually learning piano?
2. It's psychological. Always leave others knowing you have a little more to offer. I don't want to show people all I've got.That leaves me vulnerable.I like to hold back a little so I always have an ace up my sleeve. For example, if you write a book and put everything you know into it, how can you write a sequel? If you always wear full make-up, how do you dress up to go out to dinner on Valentines Day? If you knock out a 2:59 marathon, how will you ever improve or PR ever again?
3. It gives you space. I am not the BEST artist. But I'm pretty good. The extra time and dedication it would take to be the best is far too much for a hobby. So I use that extra time and dedication and apply it to something else - studying HIV treatment, for example. The jump from "really good" to "the best" is enormous and requires intense effort and a huge amount of time. But if you are satisfied with "really good", then you are creating free time and brain space ot apply to another area in which you would like to be "really good".
But there are obviously drawbacks to this tactic.
1. You lack the feeling of giving something all your effort.
2. You can appear lazy to others.
3. You will never be the expert in anything.
4. If you take it too literally you will probably get fat.
How about you? Do you do your best at everything? Do you triage items by importance? Would you be content with being just good enough? Does this post make you think I'm a disgusting slob?