What’s the point of life if you’re not improving yourself, if you’re not breaking your own records?
I just got back from an amazing trip in Maui, where I tried surfing for the first time. Everything about the trip was amazing, and I’m not using that word lightly. Surfing was a great experience as well. I remember getting up once on the first day, then saying to my girlfriends sister, who’s a very good surfer and an amazing photographer, that I wanted to get up on the board three times on the second day; that I wanted to break my previous record.
My thought process wasn’t that only making it up on the board once would be a failure of a day. I simply thought it would be fun to have a challenge ahead and to see if I could accomplish that challenge.
I’m using surfing as an example, but if I think about it I can see this thought process in all aspects of life. Using this site as an example, I always want to hear more success stories and more feedback from the people that read these articles. So, in the back of my mind, I’m writing an article that will connect with you in some way that’s a bit more impactful that your average read.
The surfing got me thinking, what if we never sought to better ourselves in any way?
What if we were simply content with minimal effort that resulted in minimal results, or great effort once, then never strived to get back to that point again?
Success wouldn’t come, and I don’t think happiness would either. It’s more than just accomplishing something, it’s knowing you did your best, and the feeling of pride that comes along with it. It’s one thing to be content and happy with where you are, but not wanting to improve in anything you’re doing leaves life a bit stagnant.
In a way, being better than you were before is a part of what life is all about. Striving to do better in one aspect of life often has a positive effect on another area of life. One could argue that striving to be a better husband, will make you a better father, or even trying to become a better student will make you a better teacher.
Complacency is different in my mind than being content. Don’t let this attitude of ‘being better than you were previously,’ get in the way of happiness; rather, let it lead to more happiness, better relationships, a healthier body, a healthier mind, a healthier outlook on life, a better family life, better relationships and so forth.
If a great white shark stops moving in the water it dies because it can no longer get the oxygen from the water that it needs to survive. I’m not saying you have to continually be on the move, I think it’s important to stop, take a step back and enjoy all that life has to offer, but don’t get complacent, and don’t take anything for granted. By pushing yourself to become a better person, or to improve on something that’s important to you, you’ll be rewarded by knowing that you gave it your all, even if you don’t fully succeed.
So push yourself to new places, don’t let the fear of not succeeding get in the way of you trying your best, and I’ll try and do the same. There’s more satisfaction in failing at something you poured your heart into than there is in not trying at all.