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Raising the Average

Perfection is the enemy of action.” – Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic

Somehow I haven’t found the time to walk five miles every day this week. Busy with stuff. Like finding excuses to not get some exercise. But somehow I’ve managed to knock off a dozen burpees every day. Granted, it’s a small token of daily fitness, but I haven’t broken the streak yet. I’ve established a cadence with burpees. It’s a form of daily ritual, a small gesture towards fitness. It won’t close the gap on its own but it gives me some measure of achievement.

Seth Godin mentioned in an interview that he writes multiple blog posts every day, essentially building a library of possibilities to post. I have no such library. Instead I write as inspiration strikes, usually in the morning but sometimes late in the day. But I post daily to keep the streak alive, typos and all. I’m not writing a masterpiece, though I surely try. The cadence is what I’m focused on. Hopefully the content meets expectations on occasion.

Every morning this week I’ve gotten up for the sunrise, alone to catch the sun break the horizon. There’s a feeling of hope for this new day, as there was yesterday and hopefully tomorrow. I haven’t had a perfect day yet this week, but I’ve had good days nonetheless. Perfect days are evasive creatures; I’ll take great days or even average days. Average is still pretty good when you look at how dark the world can be. I woke up today (bonus!), saw a sunrise, sipped some coffee and read a bit of meaningful prose. I’ll take that kind of start any day. Chasing perfection leads you down a path of never good enough, which leads to the darkness. I choose the light, errors and all.

There’s a great article about Dalilah Muhammad’s world record 400 meter hurdle run in Sports Illustrated this week. She ran an imperfect race, but she didn’t need perfection to get the WR because she’d worked so hard to be at a level of performance where an average race was still far ahead of the perfect race for someone else was. There’s a lesson there for all of us. We can’t reach perfection but by continually raising the bar in our own lives we can reach levels of greatness in our pursuits. Steady improvement over time moves us closer. That seems healthier than never good enough.

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