The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement.
~ George Will
You might think a publication with the title of Further is all about the achievement of greatness. Never be satisfied, you’re not good enough, keep going!
The idea is to simply get a little better all the time while enjoying the journey. Paradoxically, “getting a little better all the time” at something you love is also the path to mastery.
The path to better
In my favorite read from the last few days, Outside columnist Brad Stulberg tackles the incessant obsession with greatness in our culture.
He quotes Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh for the proposition that success means “finding happiness in your work and life, in the here and the now,” which has an valuable by-product:
What’s interesting is that not always trying so damn hard to be great isn’t just the path to being happier; it’s also the path to getting better.
It’s true. Whether you want to be thinner, get fitter, or create more, research shows that for remarkable results, focus on incremental progress on a consistent basis.
In other words, “being good enough over and over again.”
Stulberg examines a host of ways you can get better at becoming better without worrying about the achievement of greatness. Acceptance, patience, presence, and developing an in-person support group all help.
Embracing vulnerability, though, may be the most important skill when it comes to stepping away from “greatness” in the alternate reality of an Instagram-fueled life.
Stulberg cites the research of Brene Brown for the finding that “trust comes from vulnerability,” which has an interesting potential outcome:
Recent experimental data suggests that this is because deep down inside, most everyone dislikes having to pretend they’ve got all their shit together. When you let your guard down and get real, others feel relieved and gain the confidence to do the same.
We already know all that “greatness” on social media isn’t the whole truth, so maybe it’s time to simply stop trying to portray everything that way. Isn’t watching someone get a little better each week or month more interesting?
You’d get my follow.
It’s Okay to Be Good and Not Great (Outside)