By Justin Seltzer
This article is the second in a series that will be written on various “social ills” as I see them. The first one can be found here: Get off your Ass and Care.
It seems that everywhere I go these days, performance-oriented thinking has given way to excuse-oriented thinking. I am not sure when this shift happened or where it originated, but it has become a cancer that has spread to all areas of society. No longer can people simply be fired for sucking, be evenly evaluated as people for jobs, or be cut from the sports team. Everyone has to be a winner because we fear for this abstract notion of self-esteem and self worth. And when some enterprising employer, coach, or administrator decides that they refuse to have their standards dictated by a bunch of pussies, they get publically humiliated for being “racist” or “sexist” or some other lame “-ist” word created by intellectuals who have to over think everything in order to justify their ridiculous salaries.
Now, before you tear my head off please note that I am not advocating we return to the era of open sexism and racism. Our society has progressed greatly towards equality for all, which is exactly what I am advocating here: evaluate everyone on an even field, however they present themselves. Why would anyone want to be associated with someone who can’t do the job? I don’t see the SEALs or Green Berets having separate standards for those who went to a bad high school. You either cut it or you don’t. End of story. And if you don’t, you either go somewhere else or you improve yourself to try to meet the standard. This is how life should operate, but somehow in our mad dash to alleviate all of life’s pain and suffering (the psychological equivalent to the easy diet solution or pharmaceutical overload) we missed that point and moved right to a “no one loses” mentality. We cannot afford that mentality; it makes us weak, uncreative, and inefficient. I propose two ways to fix this in yourself.
Lose Your Pride
As they say, pride is the root of all evil and losing it is the first step to success in all areas of life. I am not saying you need to lose pride in yourself, your work, and whatever else you do (see: my article on caring above). In fact, pride in yourself is a major key to rising up and claiming what you want in life. What I am talking about is the thick-headed, inadaptable pride that prevents you from growing as a person. This type of pride is a dangerous thing to have. It is the reason why people get so crazy when they fail; they look at it as a personal hit to their pride rather than an opportunity to learn, grow, and later succeed. So lose your pride and take failure as launching point for your future. If you want it badly enough, pride will only get in the way of achieving your goal.
Don’t be a Bitch and Stop the Excuses
“Don’t be a bitch” is a slogan tossed around quite a bit, but it’s meaning varies from person to person. The way I see it, it means success is paramount in your mind and you refuse to make excuses for your shortcomings. Not being a bitch means you know who you are, what you’re about, and that no matter what the result you gave whatever you had to give towards that endeavor. It also means that you don’t let failure define you. As with losing your pride, not being a bitch means you take any failure as an opportunity to better yourself, correct the mistake, and move on to another issue. Also, you don’t make excuses as to why something happened the way it did. Excuses are meaningless and only contribute to the erosion of high standards. Not being a bitch means you are the standard-bearer for these high standards: you will give all of yourself to meet them, and ensure those who follow do the same. This is a mentality you must adopt to be truly successful in anything.
In short, we must evaluate based on our performance, the maximum effort we can give compared to the maximum effort of others. In order to be able to make this evaluation, we, as individuals, must give up our pride and our excuses in favor of high standards and earned personal value. The world cannot continue deeper into this forest of mediocrity lest it never find its way back out.
50 Knees to Elbows
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Downtown Los Angeles