I was hit with an epiphanial thunderbolt the other day. A phrase that literally shook me to the core of my very being.
First, a new link: Monday Morning Memo. Go read and sign up now. I command it. You will not regret it.
The other day I was listening to The Ziglar Show #426, which was about this issue of the Monday Morning Memo titled The Talented-Person Blind Spot. It talked about two conditions called the Impostor Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger Effect. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
About the 36:00 mark of the Ziglar podcast, the host starting talking about how inadequate he felt leading personal development classes on subjects that he felt he need a lot more work on before he felt comfortable teaching others about. This transitioned into talking about hypocrisy, which is defined today as a person declaring a personal standard (usually moral) and then failing to meet it.
This “hypocrisy” is used by Liberals all the time against those they oppose. If someone Liberals don’t like (usually Conservatives) declare a standard, then when someone of that disliked group does not meet that standard, Liberals use that to try and declare that standard invalid. An example that comes to mind is when Republicans speak against debauchery and degradation of women. So when a couple Republican lawmakers are found enjoying themselves in a strip club, Liberals start screaming, "SEE, THEY DON’T LIVE UP TO THEIR OWN STANDARDS!!!"
To continue with the podcast, the guest brought up Thomas Jefferson. The man who wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”, yet he owned slaves. Which, using the current definition of hypocrisy, Thomas Jefferson certainly was a hypocrite. Declaring that all men are equal, while at the same time owning human beings.
Here’s what the guest quoted Thomas Jefferson saying about this:
"This thing I believe, do I water it down to the level that I can live up to, or do I say the truth, even though I am falling horribly short of it myself?"
This is that epiphanial thunderbolt I spoke of earlier. Do I set my standards to where I can reach them, or do I set them high enough that my maximum effort may or may not attain that standard? A deep quandary indeed to all those of deep thought want desire to improve themselves.
I have certain beliefs as standards that I hold myself to, even though I fall horribly short of them on a consistent basis. Every day I fall short in my obligations to my family, friends and all those whom I interact with. However, because I will fail does not mean I should never try. With that being said, I work every day to try and attain those unreachable goals, even knowing I may never reach them.
I have multiple other ways of saying this, such as, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” “One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for one can just barely achieve through one's greatest efforts” and many others. I heard in another podcast this intent (since I don’t remember it exactly enough to quote it):
Never fear failure. If you fail, this means you picked a target outside of your comfort zone and your abilities. If you tried your best and failed, be proud of yourself because you got out on a limb and tried, which puts you way ahead of those who never try.
This is the message I want to leave you with. Strive for what is out of your reach. You just might get it.