͞Push yourself! You can do better! You can do more than that! I believe that you can achieve more! The little voice in our heads that wants us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. It’s that little voice that helps us to continue moving forward, improving, growing as individuals. It’s awesome to tell ourselves that we can do better on our own and to know that we can achieve amazing things. It’s pretty special to have the motivation to want to achieve greater things or improve on your abilities. But what happens all too often is that we start telling ourselves other things as well. You aren’t good enough. You should be improving faster. Why aren’t you better? Our self-motivation can easily become self-loathing. We sometimes push ourselves so hard that we begin to feel inadequate. Our “we can do better” causes us to ask ͞why aren’t you better͟, and our goal to grow turns into the thought that we were never good enough in the first place. Where do we find the line between choosing to push ourselves and feeling secure with who we are? Do we make the decision to keep growing, or do we choose to simply accept who we are in the moment? Maybe we don’t have to pick one or the other. We can choose to continue pushing ourselves and still achieve personal happiness. We can make the decision to find a balance between the two and allow ourselves to have both. When we choose to find that balance we can grow as individuals while still feeling fulfilled. I remember a story about
I remember a story about an African American kid in 1950s who had his bike stolen. When he sought help, he was directed to a local police officer named Joe Martin, and the boy said when I find who stole my bike, I’m gonna whoop him. Joe decided that this would be the perfect venue to teach a brash young boy about discipline, as he also ran one of the only de-segregated boxing gyms in the area. The kid must have really enjoyed it because he was good. Really good. So good that he would win six Golden Glove titles in his home state of Kentucky. So good that he would win two national Golden Gloves titles and an Amateur Athletic Union national title. Cassius Clay was so good that in the summer of 1960 he took home an Olympic gold medal in the light heavyweight division. Now for most people, a gold medal would be the perfect high to an above average boxing career. This was barely the start, however, for a man who would change his name to Muhammad Ali, win multiple world titles, become one of the greatest boxers the world had ever seen, and use his fame to fight for equality and justice. All of this came from a little kid who was mad because someone had stolen his bike. Ali had so many opportunities to say ͞I’ve done enough͟ and quit. But he never did. The secret to his success and our success is the drive to not settle and not be satisfied with where we’re at. Satisfaction can seem like an easy path to take, but the reality is that when we settle for ͞good enough͟, we are cheating ourselves and our peers out of our full potential. It is when we decide to settle that we find ourselves becoming stagnant and fail to truly grow and express our strengths and talents. Each of us has areas in our lives where we can push ourselves more, go that extra mile, and choose not to settle for ͞good enough͟. In FFA it could be pursuing new leadership positions, trying new CDEs, growing our SAEs, or working to become more involved in our communities. It could be studying harder to push ourselves academically, practicing to become better at our passions, working to develop ourselves as leaders and individuals, or making conscious efforts to reach out to others. Challenge yourself to never become complacent. Where in your life should you seek the most improvement? In which areas do you have the most room for growth? Where in your work, school, places of worship, relationships or home life could you work harder to achieve your goals? Where are you settling? When we identify those areas, we have to put in the work to truly push ourselves. Make an effort to grow and improve every single day. However, as we are working to improve ourselves, it is important that we never let self-improvement become
However, as we are working to improve ourselves, it is important that we never let self-improvement become self-destructive. I’ve always had a natural tendency to be really
I’ve always had a natural tendency to be really self-critical and almost obsessively seek improvement. Whether it was working to get good grades, attempting to achieve more in FFA, or trying to improve my roping, I was good at telling myself how much more I could do. Over time, the ability to seek growth evolved into a habit of being really hard on myself. Fast forward to this fall, as my first semester at Kansas State University began. I had set all these goals for myself that had been accomplished. I was at the college of my dreams, preparing to compete on a college rodeo team, and serving Kansas FFA as a State Officer, and on paper, everything should’ve been perfect. These goals that meant so much to me had been reached and a great network of people surrounded me. Logically, things should’ve been great. However, deep down I wasn’t happy with myself. The question Why aren’t you better consumed my mind and controlled my attitude. And it doesn’t matter how much you try and hide it when a person isn’t happy with themselves it isn’t long before their struggle starts to show. My mindset became more and more negative and as a result, I treated myself and the people around me a lot more harshly. I would project my unhappiness on others because it was hard to understand that this feeling wasn’t a result of anyone else’s actions, but my own. It’s a good thing that the people around me are pretty great people because they had to deal with a person who wasn’t as grateful, joyful, or enjoyable in general as he should have been. I had to make an active decision not just to push myself, but to appreciate myself as well. When this happened, I found myself acknowledging the blessings that filled my life, and happiness seemed to be more of a constant condition rather than this feeling that came around only on occasion. Often, we are so good at not settling on good enough that we start to think WE are not good enough. If we choose to simply rely on achievements to bring happiness, we’ll find ourselves drained. When we choose to take control of our attitude, it becomes a lot easier to feel happy. We have to decide to acknowledge the things that will bring us happiness. That might mean acknowledging how much progress we have made in achieving our goals or choosing to focus on what’s going right instead of just focusing on what’s next. Choosing to take control of our attitudes might mean finding joy in things as important as family or as seemingly inconsequential as personal hobbies. I’ve never met someone who has not done something to better themselves that they should be proud of. Where have you grown as an individual? What’s one part of your journey that has brought you happiness? Make an active decision to invest in your own happiness. We choose how we motivate ourselves and we choose how we view ourselves. We create our own success when we consistently set higher goals to reach. If we truly wish to reach our potential, then we have to always seek continuous growth. However, it’s equally important that we make a decision to be happy with who we are. We are all capable of finding a balance between our desire to achieve greater things and having a positive self-perception. When we find
We choose how we motivate ourselves and we choose how we view ourselves. We create our own success when we consistently set higher goals to reach. If we truly wish to reach our potential, then we have to always seek continuous growth. However, it’s equally important that we make a decision to be happy with who we are. We are all capable of finding a balance between our desire to achieve greater things and having a positive self-perception. When we find balance between telling ourselves how we can be better and being happy with who we are, we gain the ability to consistently push ourselves while still finding personal fulfillment. Our “I can do better” doesn’t have to lead to an “Why aren’t I better”. It’s essential that we always choose to push ourselves, yet choose to be happy. Continue moving forward, yet stop to find the things to bring us joy. Always seek growth, and choose to pursue genuine happiness. The goals you set don’t have to be “good enough” to rest on, but we can all be good enough for ourselves.