By User12601034-Oracle on Aug 19, 2008
It's a phrase one of my Russian gymnastics coaches used to get me to do the tumbling pass that scared me. Although, Boris made it sound more like “DOOOOT!”
It's a phrase I heard when I was standing at the end of a diving board after my swimming instructor said the diving board was just like the vault in gymnastics. Just for the record, you run a lot faster and harder for the vault than you need to for the diving board. Yea, you get the picture – the dive was pretty; the ending wasn't!
And it's now a phrase I'm hearing as I contemplate jumping into that bigger pool of blogging. So why bother? I think that I might have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation around the importance of learning to improve yourself, those around around you and your organization or company. The scary part is that you'll be the judge of that – not me. So, let's get started, shall we?
This time around, I'm hitting the topic of personal improvement.
Last week I found a manifesto with a catchy title: A Brief Guide to World Domination (and other important goals) – How to Live a Remarkable Life in a Conventional World. Who wouldn't want to read that? Chris Guillebeau, the author, believes that you can achieve remarkable personal goals, help others at the same time, and do so in a way that challenges conventional belief that mediocrity is good enough.
In doing so, Chris puts forth two
1) What do you really want to get out of life?
2) What else can you offer the world that no one else can?
I found myself nodding in agreement as Chris talked about setting 1-year, 5-year and lifetime goals and how they can help define the answer to question one. I found myself agreeing as Chris introduced examples of people who were really living a remarkable life and helping others at the same time – Randy Pausch, professor extraordinaire ; Sam Thompson, ultra marathon runner, and Matt and Jessica Flanery, founders of kiva.org.
The overriding message in the manifesto is that you don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to. Other people will tell you that “it” (whatever your “it” is) can't be done, or that you need more experience, or that you need (fill in the blank). These are the gatekeepers – the people who want you to remain conventional and unremarkable. You can listen to these people, or you can listen to yourself.
Chris does provide 11 tips on remaining unremarkably average. Four of my favorites are:
- Accept what people tell you at face value
- Don't question authority
- Don't stand out or draw attention to yourself
- Jump through hoops; Check off boxes
What you choose isn't the most important thing – what's important is that you pick something and then just do it.