Thursday, March 31, 2011

Progress, Not Perfection

I’m moving toward better.

“I’m not perfect, but I’m getting better.”

I posted a blog a few weeks ago with these words as the title.

I’ve got more to say on this subject.

You see, for me it’s all about making progress, not reaching perfection. After living a bunch of years I finally realize that I’ll never be perfect. I’ll never achieve perfection. I’ll never consistently do everything exactly right and according to every person’s standards that I meet in my day-to-day living.

Perfection! What a heavy, ponderous burden to carry around anyway.

Nobody is perfect. And if you think you are, I’d like for some of your perfection to rub off on me. Just a little.

I don’t think I could stand myself if I were too perfect. I might want to brag about it, and then I wouldn’t be perfect, cause I’d have a touch of pride, and everybody knows pride is wrong, so I’m back to not being perfect again.

What a crazy merry-go-round this gets to be. Chasing our tails just to be perfect.

Let me put you out of your misery. Just aim to be better. Make progress.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m reading and following Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Julia gave me the idea for this blog, which is a footnote to my blog posted on March 10, 2011.

Julia says this in her book: “Mistakes are necessary. Stumbles are normal.” She then adds, "Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.”

Wow! Somebody actually dares to tell us we are gonna foul up occasionally and that is OK! I like this lady.

I’m not looking for excuses to screw up. I’m looking for a salve to ease the pain when I sometimes do stumble, mumble and fall.

Can I hear an “Amen”?

I can do better in just about every area of my life.
I can be a better …
                         Bongoist (I recently bought a set of bongos)

I can do a ton of things better.

Am I ever perfect?

--Some days I look pretty darn good
       (when Carolyn picks out my shirt and tie)
--Some days I drive perfectly
       (under the speed limit without talking on my cell phone)
--Some days I write amazing stuff
       (you should see my computer files and be amazed for yourself)

But other days -- Oh my.

I am a train wreck looking for a place to happen. (Wow, that is actually pretty good writing right there)

So, enough said on this subject. I think you got the point long before now.

I’m a work in progress. Care to join me?

Let’s do “better” together.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Never Give In

Michael Jordan, basketball great, once said, “I have failed over and over again in life. That is why I have succeeded.”

During the 90’s, Donald Trump was once a billion dollars in debt. He stated, “I refused to give up. Defeat is not in my vocabulary.”

Remember Babe Ruth? Here’s what he said. “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

I love Winston Churchill. He lost every election for public office until he became prime minister. His words still reach out to us today. “Never give in; never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

Vince Lombardi, the immortal coach, was quoted as saying, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

Richard Branson, Venture capitalist says, “You fail if you don’t try. If you try and you fail, yes, you’ll have a few articles saying you’ve failed at something. But if you look at the history of American entrepreneurs, one thing I do know about them: an awful lot of them have tried and failed in the past and gone on to great things.”

In the October 2010 issue of Success Magazine, Arianna Huffington, published author and nationally syndicated columnist, public radio host and other noted accomplishments clearly states this. “Perseverance is everything.”

She goes on to say “failure is a steppingstone to success.”

What can my voice possibly add to these words from some great individuals in our current and past history?

Just this;

Failure is not final!

Maybe it’s just something that doesn’t work in a particular situation and you need to find a different, better way.


There is an old adage in the marketing industry that says “when a marketing person runs out of ideas he/she is out of a job.” Ouch!

But the ideas are out there somewhere. They are just awaiting your discovery.

Remember this:
Man landing on the moon was just an idea waiting to be claimed. John F. Kennedy snagged that one.
The automobile? – Henry Ford.
Man in flight? The Wright brothers.
Computer software on a grand scale? Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg.

You get the picture.

May you find the guts, the perseverance and the will to turn your hopes, dreams and wishes into success.

Never Give In!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Keep Showing Up

I’m reading The Artist’s Way and following the guidance that author Julia Cameron offers through each chapter. A phrase she uses to encourage her readers to keep with the program is, “Keep showing up at the pages.” As part of the assignment, we are to write a minimum of three pages; stream of consciousness thoughts every day. They can be random, haphazard and about anything and everything that is on my mind for that moment in time. My job is simply to show up and write.

I love the concept of “Keep showing up.” We do that for life, sometimes willingly, sometimes reluctantly. Regardless, we “show up”.

Keep showing up. That’s what most successful people do every day. They show up.

Babe Ruth showed up. He struck out more times than he hit home runs, but he showed up.

Michael Jordan showed up. He missed some critical shots, lost game winning free-throws, but he kept showing up.

I have some friends who are scientists; working on the next cure for whatever ails us. They sometimes put the wrong ingredients together and have to start all over. But they keep showing up.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen kept showing up in the early days of Microsoft. They worked hard, they showed up and now the world is peppered with their products.

My dreams don’t unlock themselves. I have to keep showing up and trying different keys, different ideas, and words and phrases and angles. But I keep showing up.

I have to show up in my relationship with Carolyn. Not just physically be in her presence, but be in the moment with her in conversation, in sharing activities, in living life. I have to show up.

These pages don’t write themselves. I have to be there, put my hands to the task, and examine my mind. I show up.

Are you showing up today? It’s not enough to be there, it’s an act of involvement that Julia’s talking about. It’s an extra measure of yourself that you put into whatever you find needs doing.

It’s the showing up and then doing that is important. Some days I’d rather not write. I’d rather not do a lot of things, but then my life would be one of abandonment, one of randomness, and one of less.


Those speak of things in life that we don’t show up for.

When we show up, we invest. We invite. We engage. We become something more. We put out a bit more of ourselves.

We show up.

And sooner rather than later we show up in impressive ways by leaving good marks on other’s lives.

That’s the good part about showing up.

I want to leave my mark -- On your life.
                                    On your heart.
                                          On your path.

So, I keep showing up. Every Friday.

Thanks for inviting me in.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm Not Perfect, But I Am Better

I wish I were perfect. Do you?

Perfect people, if they exist at all, are something to behold, that’s for sure. Perfect people never have problems, everything always turns out right for them, they always marry the right person, have the best, most perfectly behaved kids, have the perfect job, their hair always looks perfect, their clothes always look the absolute best, their shoes are always shined, their shoe laces are always tied, they speak four languages perfectly, they make tons of money.

They are perfect.

Now, before you and I throw up at the thought of perfection, hold on a minute. Is anyone that good?

I doubt it very seriously. From what I read, people make mistakes. They stumble and fall, they mess up, and they make poor decisions. They in effect do more things wrong than they do right.

Don’t have a weak heart. Don’t despair because your life is not “perfect.”

Remember this:

“I may not be perfect,
but I can get better.”

That is something I can hook onto, can you?

I may not be perfect,
but I can be better
every day.

Wow. Love that! I can do that.

Here’s another way of saying this: “Just because we have failed at something doesn’t mean we are a failure.”

I love this quote from Michael Jordan, basketball great. He certainly wasn’t “perfect” according to this comment. Michael once said:

“I have missed over 9,000 shots
in my career. I have lost almost 300 games.
On 26 occasions I have been entrusted
to take the game winning shot … and missed.
I have failed over and over again
in my life – and that is precisely
why I have succeeded.”

My, oh my. You mean to say big people make mistakes? Icons of sports, industry, and world leaders? Even normal mortals like me make mistakes?

That is exactly what I mean.

You see. We take the trials and tribulations of life, the foibles, the mistakes, the fumbles and the foul balls and we do better next time.

We Get Better!

That’s it.

We get better.

-I can’t live a perfect life. I’m not a perfect husband. Ask Carolyn.
-I’m not a perfect writer. Read some of my past stuff.
-I’m not the world’s greatest speech maker – yet.
-I’ve fumbled, mumbled, misspelled, misrepresented, tripped, fallen down, sang off key, missed deadlines, and gone bankrupt. But I’m getting better.

I’m better for having experienced every one of these mis-steps.

Was it pleasant at the time? Certainly not.

But I made it through every one of life’s pitfalls and mistakes.

I’m reading and following the prescription in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. On page 30 she makes this statement that caught my attention. “In order to be good you have to be bad.”

You ever thought anyone would applaud you for being bad? I can handle that.

I wrote a blog a few months ago and used the following quote “The arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of a hundred misses.”

Now that is far from perfect. Perfection is not even in sight with that statement.

But we get better.

Aim, fire, miss, strike out – aim again, correct your angle, correct the amount of pressure.


You are getting better.

Perfect? Not likely.

Better? Every day, in every way, with every correction.

I want to be better. What do you want?