Tuesday, September 13, 2005

You Don't Need MY Permission

Most people are not okay with success. Nearly all people have this idea of value and self-worth and are uncomfortable and afraid to reach beyond it. We all know a wonderful writer who rarely or never sends manuscripts to an editor. We know brilliant, grounded people who stay in dead-end jobs that they hate because it is "good enough".

What if it isn't good enough? How many of you have friends who tell you constantly that you can "do better"... in work, in relationships, in every or any aspect of your life. Are they wrong? Do you surround yourself with stupid friends? If your friends are smart, they're right.

So what's stopping you? You.

Rick is one of my super-amazing friends. Most of my friends are amazing on some level. When it borders on the supernatural, as it does with Rick, it's super-amazing. He has an uncanny ability to go into a situation: boardroom, biker bar, red-neck watering hole, formal dinner party, blue collar job site and within minutes become everyones close friend. I've watched him walk into a military surplus store, strike up a random conversation and in less than five minutes be offered free and unlimited access to a professional machining shop.

If you read personal accounts of Bill Clinton, this same ability is mentioned. This ability, combined with Clinton's ambition and ruthlessness, propelled him to the White House. Why not Rick?

Okay, Rick's not stupid and doesn't want that kind of life... but he thinks he has the kind of life that he deserves. We all do. We are comfortable middle class, content and happy to be one notch more prosperous than our parents... and every last one of us could be more of we decided to.

It doesn't have to be money, fame and power. I see it in martial arts students. Some get so locked into a world view where their sensei or 'master' is unbelievably amazing that they will never give themselves permission to be even better. Why not? Shouldn't a good instructor in the end make you better than he was? But no matter how good the teacher, the student has to let themselves grow and amaze.

What do you love doing? Do you give yourself permission to be the best? Do you give yourself permission to put it out for others to see and judge and permission to not be the best right away and use the failures to get better?

Life isn't hard. Really stupid people do it all the time. Smart people should do it better, but they have to let themselves.

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