John D. Rockefeller once said, “Enough is just a little bit more.” Now there is a scary thought for someone like me whose greatest fear is that I’m not. I am most definitely my own worst enemy and often see the character flaws in myself others would never notice. I think Taylor Swift put it into words perfectly for me when she said, “I’m intimidated by the fear of being average.” No one wants to be average. And in my limited experience at life I would argue that deep-down, we’re all striving to be just a “little bit more.” While I don’t think it’s a bad thing to seek self-improvement, I do think it is an incredibly slippery-slope to travel. (Sadly…I know from experience.)
“Kaizen” is an excellent Japanese word that embodies the meaning, “to improve thyself in some small way each day.” And while it is a beautiful word filled with healthy ambition, that isn’t really the way most of us approach self-improvement. As busy, self-important 21st Century-individuals, we strive to be perfect instead. And soon the “little” improvements we desire breed and multiply into an exhaustive, endless list of things we decide must change before we’ll ever be happy with ourselves again. Whether it is weight-loss or promotions or relationships or organization, we nit-pick and we hen-peck and we strategize and analyze and materialize our lives until one day, we lose sight of our original goal all-together.
In our attempts to be “just a little bit more,” we indefinitely minimize our worth until there is much, much less to who we are than what we started with. I don’t write this to discourage self-improvement, but to caution you…tread lightly and be gentle with yourself. Don’t depreciate the original value of who you are by only focusing on who you “could” be. Ordinary people do such things…and I don’t know about you…but I have never strove to be ordinary.