Most Chinese restaurants seem to have the same basic decoration. The chairs only seem to vary in the pattern of the vinyl upholstery. The pictures of the food look almost identical up on the menu board. It’s almost as if they are all part of a chain like McDonald’s. Despite the similarities of the furniture, the food is what separates the good from the bad. In the past I know that I’ve gone out of my way to go to the “good” Chinese restaurant. That distinction was never about the decoration or the koi fish swimming in the fake pond with a waterfall. The good restaurant distinguished itself by making better food once it got the furniture in.
In so many areas people are losing sight of the fact that being better is necessary. As a coach and a teacher, the overwhelming sense that I get is that most people only put for the effort to be “good enough”. Good enough to make varsity. Good enough to pass. Good enough to graduate. This would be fine if their desires matched their effort. Unfortunately too many people expect great results from their mediocre effort. They expect adulation for just showing up. Success should be as easy to get as ‘likes’ on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. Showing up is the starter kit, performing consistently high level enough for people to notice is the key.
So don’t rely on the starter kit. You already have a bunch of them. Life is the restaurant space. Your limbs and senses are the chairs and tables. Some people are performing even without those advantages that you have. All of the window dressing in the world is not going to move your business forward if you don’t make better food. In your life, that could be any action that you take: studying, interacting with people, selling, playing or anything else. You need to put forth the effort to at least be better than you used to be. Otherwise you’ll end up as another forgotten place in a strip mall.
Before Amazon, there was (at least in my world) the Sears Catalog. It was a huge “magazine” that had just about every product in the Sears store. It was a place that my brothers and I would peruse some time before Christmas to find things we wanted. I remember that I always focused in on the guitars. They weren’t overly expensive at the time and I fancied myself as a future guitarist. Despite my desire, I never told my parents nor did I save up money to purchase one. In hindsight, I really didn’t want the guitar. I liked the idea of the guitar but if I had truly wanted it, I’d have found a way.
That’s the way that life really works. Look down and look around. For the most part, the things that you have are the things that you really want. They are your musts, non-negotiables, have to haves. People often think that they have wants but most of the time they have dreams or fantasies. I have a fantasy of weighing 170 lbs again. Unfortunately I don’t really want it. If I did, I’d be there. My weight is a direct reflection of my true wants: taste, dietary freedom, comfort food and convenience. When I truly start wanting that ideal weight, I’ll take the actions that will get me there. Until then, it’s not true. I don’t want it unless it’s easy.
The things worth having are never easy. Value is usually associated to scarcity or uniqueness. This is a tough thing to remember in a life of convenience. There are so many good things that are easily accessible that we bury ourselves in the good, foregoing the truly valuable because it’s inconvenient. What you wanted is all around you. If you truly want for more, you’ll find a way. In five years will you be surrounded by more mediocre trinkets? Or will you have something better? In the end you’re going to find the ultimate thing that you’re looking for is that best version of you. It won’t come easy and it’s not in a catalog or on Amazon. So get what you want by being who you want to be.
Have a great day!
It’s Mr. Baxter from 7th grade science class that started my tendency toward being a spelling/grammar Nazi. Two times receiving a 99.5% based on spelling errors was enough frustration to get me to pay attention. I fully recognize that language is a fluid and live thing. Every day we can influence it for the better or worse. Outside of church, very few people are using “thine” and “thou”. These words have been morphed and replaced with their more recent counterparts. Change is not my concern. It is laziness and apathy.
Widespread education and technological advances have democratized access to knowledge and the overwhelming response of the public has been indifference. There was a time in this country when only a select few could hope to become educated. The huge supply of knowledge seems to have caused an equally huge plummet in demand. While this lowering of expectation has happened in the realm of language, it is just as obvious in personal health, civic responsibility and many other areas of life. As the challenges of life have become easier, we seem to be less inclined to meet them head on. Instead we have found a degree of comfort in social proof. If “everyone else” is holding a low standard, then it makes us feel that we are OK.
What if you were the one to hold the line for yourself? Not to tell the world that it is wrong but to do what is right for yourself and those around you. If you held the line on your health, your marriage, your relations with people or yourself; what kind of a ripple effect could you have on your family, community or even the world? Even if no one else took up your particular cause, how would it feel to be the answer to your own problem? Deciding for yourself, exactly what you would and would not stand for could be liberating. Rather than looking at those around you to find the path of least resistance, you could look inward to find the strength to hack out a new trail. Our world is filled with more possibility and less hardship than every before, so are you going to sit there and bask in the glow of what our forefathers built? Or are you going to do your own work? The choice is yours! And that is probably the biggest kicker of all, we get to choose to step up or not.
So I hope that you find within yourself a desire for better than most. Be a leader by doing first. Utherwhys whee May knot bee aybl two reklame wut weave lust!
Make today better.
I love food! Almost too much. This is at least one of the causes of my battle with weight loss. Cravings for things that taste good at meal time are a daily occurrence. Although I know all of the reasons for a healthy diet, the struggle still exists. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. The other day I started to give some real thought to this dilemma. At that time I realized that most meals are invisible. It’s not that we can’t see them at all but rather that they only exist long enough to serve their purpose. After they are gone, they are generally forgotten.
If you were asked, I’m sure you could probably remember what you had for dinner, lunch and breakfast yesterday. However unless you eat the same thing each day or have a schedule, the memory of your meals probably only goes back a week or less. Even take a special meal like Thanksgiving, you probably remember what you had but don’t remember whether the turkey was dry or how many helpings of mashed potatoes you had. The power of a meal is the power of an instant. Based on our national problem with obesity, it is easy to see that we have a problem with getting past those instances.
Choosing what we want most over what we want right now is the key to overcoming this issue. It does not just relate to food and weight. It is a failure to fully decide what we want before the instant of temptation comes up. Being prepared to react to those temptations with a steadfast denial by saying with your actions, “I already chose differently.” It is not easy! Without a doubt, this is most likely a fight against years or even decades of habit and desire. Depending on the habit, like me, you may be carrying around a large reminder of all of those momentary choices with almost no memory of the “joy” that they brought.
So if the memory is going to fade of these instances and you know they will, can you start to make a better choice? Can you choose to not be overwhelmed by now in the service of later? Whether it’s food, sex, anger, distraction, beer or any other vice that you may have, make your choice before the moment arrives. Then carry that decision into tomorrow. You are not a machine! This will take time and practice but remember that your present desire will eventually fade in your memory. Most meals end up being invisible.
Have a great week!