Chase Perfection, Catch Excellence

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
3 min read

The pursuit of self actualization.

Photo by Nattu Adnan on Unsplash

How do we pick the course of our lives? How do we know where to put our efforts? What will make the most significant contribution to society and personal success?

Life is lived forward but is only understood in retrospect, looking back. We can only connect the dots looking back.

In retrospect, every profound discovery looks obvious.

How do we choose what to pursue in life if we aspire to do something meaningful and fulfill our purpose?

These big questions have always concerned thoughtful searching people.

“Every moment of one’s existence, one is growing into more or retreating into less.” ―Norman Mailer

I try to remember that with every little choice I make. In every decision I want to choose a growth mindset.

As Carol Dweck said,

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

It’s time to begin. Here is Goethe to inspire you,

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;

What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

If not now, when? When are you going to choose to be all that you can be?

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Self-improvement leads to self-actualization, becoming who you were meant to become. It’s cultivating the seed to become the mighty oak.

A definition of hell is the person you have been meeting, on your deathbed, the person you could have been.

The path to self-actualization is simple, but not always easy. Many of the steps are easy, and you can implement them immediately.

Small shifts in behavior can lead to dramatically improved outcomes over time.

You can’t change the destination overnight, but you can change the direction.

Other steps will take habits, systems, and discipline to maintain. Some negative habits require resolve to overcome through sternness of resolution and perseverance. Being free of their clutches and negative consequences is worth it.

Some steps are ideals to strive towards. They are achievable but will likely be more of sustaining a modest approach for all but the most energetic of us.

“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” Paul Kalanithi

Vince Lombardi | MBA ASAP

I like to keep things simple. The simpler the plan, the easier the execution and commitment to staying the course.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

“Our levels of desire, patience, persistence, and confidence end up playing a much larger role in success than sheer reasoning powers. Feeling motivated and energized, we can overcome almost anything. Feeling bored and restless, our minds shut off and we become increasingly passive.”― Robert Greene, Mastery

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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