This tweet is a combination of two points of The Optimist Creed. The first part comes from point 5 of the Creed: Think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best.
This is an important point. Too many people settle for mediocrity. They take an “it’s good enough” attitude. Good enough is certainly not the best. In my opinion, it is not even good enough.
In 2001, Jim Collins published a great book, Good to Great. The very first words in Chapter 1 are, “Good is the enemy of great.” Later on the first page, he says, “Few people attain great lives, in great part because it is just too easy to settle for a good life.”
And that’s what the fifth point of The Optimist Creed is all about. Don’t just be good, be great. Why not? All it takes is a little more effort.
Here’s a personal example. I have found that blogging is a great way to write a book. I blog every day, so I have a lot of material. Last summer, I took many of the posts from this blog and tied them together into a book. I was all set to publish it, when one of the people I had asked to read it said, “This is good, but it could be great. It reads too much like a series of blog posts. Your voice doesn’t come through well enough.”
I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to get the book published. My first thought was, “This is good enough, I don’t want to do a lot of rewriting.” My second thought was, “I can write a great book; why settle for a good one?” So I rewrote the book. The first one wasn’t a total loss. I published it is an ebook called, Star Power: Common Sense Ideas for Career and Life Success.
I rewrote Star Power, and changed the title to Straight Talk for Success. This book came out in both hard cover and paperback editions in February 2008. It became an Amazon.com bestseller. Straight Talk for Success is better than Star Power. It’s better than Star Power because I took the time to rewrite, to make my voice come through. I thought only of the best, worked for the best, and expected only the best of myself.”
When Straight Talk for Success went to the printer, I was proud of what I had written. I think it is great. It is the best I could do. In my heart of hearts, I knew that Star Power was good, but that I could do better. Someone challenged me to go from good to great, and I have – in my opinion at least. It will be interesting to see what other people think.
However, for now, I am proud of what I have accomplished. I feel as if I have been true to myself by not settling for something that is merely good when I had the chance to be great by putting in a little more time and effort.
The second part of the tweet comes from Point 7 of the Creed: “To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.”
What happens to you, or the mistakes you’ve made, aren’t important. How you react to it is. Don’t dwell on negative stuff or your mistakes; use them as a springboard to action and creativity.
Successful people develop the habit of focusing on the positive and putting the negative out of their minds. Positive habits like this are an important key to career success. Habits are like muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they get. Dan Robey is the King of Positive Habits. His eBook, The Power of Positive Habits, is one of my go-to books when I need to give myself a little boost. You can get a copy at www.ThePowerOfPositiveHabits.com. I discussed Dan’s ideas in detail in the post on Success Tweet 37. Check it out if you missed it.
In her book, Forget Your Troubles: Enjoy Your Life Today, Evelyn Brooks suggests that you get S.M.A.R.T. about putting past mistakes behind you.
S = Smash the negative.
M = Maximize the positive.
A = Act.
R = Relax.
T = Target your next action.
One of my favorite piece of career success coach advice is, “Stuff happens as you go through life; positive stuff, negative stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating stuff. The important thing is not what happens, but how you react to it. In other words, smash your negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity. This will help you maximize the positive in your life.”
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people follow the advice in Tweet 57 in Success Tweets. “Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past. Press on to better things.” This advice comes from The Optimist Creed. The first part is point 5: “Think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best.” I think the first few words in Jim Collins’ book, From Good to Great, sum it up well – “Good is the enemy of great.” If you never allow yourself to settle for “good enough” you will be expecting only the best from yourself. The second part of the career advice in this tweet comes from point 7 in The Optimist Creed: “Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Remember, it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it. Don’t dwell on the negative or past mistakes; use them as a springboard to action and creativity. Smash the negatives in your life and create positive thoughts, habits and routines. Use the negatives that come your way as learning experiences that will help you create the life and career success you want and deserve. The idea of creating positive habits – like not settling for good enough – is a powerful piece of career advice that will help you become the life and career success you deserve to be.