I was trained to believe that we practice to perfect. Most folks around us were. Some of us actually practiced a lot and some of us are awfully close to the perfection mark in some areas.
Listen to a talented musician. The music they play sounds heavenly. Eat food prepared by an outstanding cook. Their food creations are savory and memorable. Watch an Olympic athlete compete. Their bodies have been trained to the highest degrees possible and their performances are almost flawless.
The outstanding musician, cook, athlete prove to us that a person willing to practice and develop a skill, using correct teaching and technique, move unto greatness at their particular skill.
How about us? What are we becoming great at? Are we even working at it? And, if you are working at it, does it even matter?
Here’s some truth. Practice does matter. Moving unto greatness does matter. You can start practicing unto greatness today. And you can become great at the things that matter most.
We must be honest. Our lack of practice has created a dilemma. We’re not where we want to be in this area and it cannot stay this way. Something is on the line and it matters. The folks affected by our mediocrity for example…they matter.
We must find a guide. Someone must gracefully lead and guide us. We need help creating the plan to get us where we must go. Our dilemma is real and we know what is on the line.
We must be decisive. We have to choose. We are not victims of our current ability levels. We are where we are and our best thinking and decision-making got us here. There are some hinge-point decisions along the pathway to greatness. Success and failure hang on these decisions. We must choose rightly.
We must be wholeheartedly committed. Like Rome, greatness is not built in a day. Our resolved, decided hearts can grow each day, however. Celebrating small steps helps the heart stay engaged and developing.
Outstanding musicians, cooks and athletes – while their near flawless ability to perform is enviable – these people can also be completely horrible human beings at the same time. The kind of folks that you’d never let your kids be around, types whose moral fiber is made up from some place you’d never dream of going. What I’m saying is that you could be an amazing musician and still be a complete ass!
So while we consider revisiting the piano lessons we stopped taking when we were 10 or getting back into shape this winter and trying a ½ marathon this spring (both great ideas, mind you) let’s not forget to practice greatness in the areas that matter most:
Spouse, children, neighbors, faith, truth, love, etc. These are areas that we honestly have the greatest decisions to make, where we need graceful guidance the most, where wholehearted commitment is desperately needed.
The world squeezes us hard to make a name for ourselves, to become great or even perfect at something. But in the end, perfection is elusive and cannot be attained on our own. Those whose lives leave the most powerful legacy are the ones who grew into guides who modeled the values we admire and need most; truth, decisive action and wholehearted commitment. Become one of them.
Perfection is not the goal. Practicing every day is. Greatness is the fruit of an honest, decided, gracefully guided and wholeheartedly committed life.
You and I – we can experience greatness. It’s only a single decision away.
Start with the end in mind.