Recently, I’ve been thinking about how important it is to go one step beyond the “minimum requirement” and differentiate yourself from others. I was surprised to notice that many people actually don’t try hard to achieve something. A goal. They’re focused on the minimum too much, that a lot of people can’t even reach the minimum. And if they are lucky, they barely just make it.
Let’s say your mom asks you to make dinner because she isn’t feeling well. In this situation, people would be divided into three patterns. The first kid reluctantly agrees, not too happy with the situation. They make mac n’ cheese since it takes a few minutes to make, knowing their mom isn’t too fond of the food. They take the food to their sick mom in bed, tells her “I hope you get better,” and walks away.
The second kid smiles and enthusiastically tells their mom they’ll make the food. It could or could not be a fake smile. “I wanna prove to my mom I’m a good person. I also want her to get well.” She thought about making seafood pasta, a soup, and a salad for her mom but it would take too much time. And she goes off to making their mom’s favorite soup, knowing it’s good for her health. They add a cute little salad and takes it to their mom with a proud looking grin on their face. “I really hope you get better and take lots of rest!”
Now the third kid is a little different. Just like the second kid, they willingly agrees to cook food for their mom. They looked up information online about nutrients and what food are good for sick people. They also incorporated their mom’s favorite foods, tofu and meat, and decided to make tofu steak with quinoa salad and tomato soup. They also made honey ginger tea because they knew it was good for her sore throat. And if that weren’t enough, they put a little note on the tray saying, “Hope you get better mom ❤ Thanks for taking care of me all the time, now it’s my turn :)”
What was different about the third kid? The third kid focused on both the content and the presentation. Compassion was key too. The first two kids certainly did want their mom to get better, but their focus was mostly on themselves. What can I make to finish in the least amount of time? What will my mom think of my awesome food? Because I’m doing her a big favor, after she gets well, she might give me something in return too. They focused on the end too much and their “reward.” On the other hand, the third kid did their best and really thought about how they could help their mom. The note card was perfect too, because their mom really needed some love from her kid.
Focusing on the end result automatically forces people to simply pass the minimum requirement. Even if they do achieve their goal, it won’t be the same as a person who focused on the “means to the end.” Without a doubt, they’ll crash into a situation where they’ll have a hard time because they were so used to wanting the result. The reward.
Dream big! What can you lose?
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
When you break boards in martial arts, you can’t do it if you just focus on breaking the thick piece of wood. A lot of first timers tend to stop right when their hand/legs come in contact with the board. A skilled, experienced martial artist goes all the way through and breaks, going way beyond the board to generate extra power.
I strongly believe that this applies not only for sports, but for school and life in general as well. The limits you place on yourself are illusional. Next time, before you say “I can’t do it,” stop and think not about why you can’t but what you can do to break that barrier. Go way beyond the finish line and don’t look back. You might be amazed. (Or not, who knows 😉 )