Creating Excellence No Matter What
by Asoka Selvarajah (e-mail: ASelvarajah@liberator.net) [March 17th, 2002]
If you hate your job, your relationship, or some other part of your life, you are not exactly a rarity. Many people are caught up in their own personal crisis. In such a situation, it becomes all too easy to moan, grumble, and seek to undermine others. Essentially, you do as little as possible to advance your own cause, or that of anyone else for that matter. After all, why bother if you are not going to be appreciated anyway?
The trouble with this type of thinking is that it does nothing to improve your situation, but does everything to make it worse. By creating this sort of apathy within yourself, and encouraging the almost unbreakable circle of pessimistic thinking, it entangles you ever further in the web of cynicism and misery.
“[B]y choosing excellence in all your efforts, you set into motion forces in the universe that will draw excellence to you, and redeem you from whatever you are currently suffering.”
The worse thing is that such cynicism acts like it is your best friend and comforter, when it is actually the worst enemy you could have in such a situation. Rather than showing you a way out of the dilemma, it definitely lands you ever deeper in it. Even if an opportunity for improvement were to be thrust upon you, you would no longer recognize it; such are the levels to which the mind has sunk in its own self-pitying wallow.
Nobody is immune from such behavior. The temptation hits us all at some time or another. It seems so justified. After all, it was not you who was falling down on the job. It was the other party. You did all you were required to do, and what was your reward for it? You failed to receive the credit you were due, the love you deserved, the promotion you were expecting, or whatever. You are clearly being taken advantage of and totally exploited, so surely having a little grumble, and letting a few people in on your disgruntlement, cannot be so very bad?
Sadly, it is. For a start, backbiting to others does little or no good, apart from giving you some temporary respite from the tension you may be feeling. However, if there is one true rule in human relationships, it is that you can safely rely on your most confidential utterances to infallibly reach the ears of the very worst person you would wish them to - usually the person you were gossiping about. If that were to happen, ask yourself this; does it strengthen or destroy whatever good standing you have left?
In addition, you would do well to remember that you are training your mind all the time, whether by action or inaction. The thoughts you think make it easier to engage in more thoughts of the same nature. Thus, by engaging in apathetic behavior, by doing the absolute minimum required, you only train yourself to be blind and unresponsive to opportunity when it does finally arise. Also, your own attitude will be so hardened by negativity that it will be impossible for you to "flip" into positive productive mode within a heartbeat.
Worse still, you will acquire a reputation, and it will not be a good one. People think that if they go on "mental strike" in a job or relationship, the only ones who will know will be those in the immediate vicinity. However, this is rarely the case. If you try to move out of this situation carrying a highly negative mindset, you will invariably find that your reputation, good or bad, precedes you. For example, people have a habit of telephoning around to seek information on prospective employees. Although you may think your attitude is justified, the message being given by others in your company on your behalf may be a lot less flattering and sympathetic that you might like.
Thus, it can be concluded that maintaining a standard of excellence, no matter what the outward circumstances, is the best strategy. It is best for YOU, because you retain power over your own life and give yourself the most resourceful options. It may seem counter-intuitive, and certainly runs against the grain of what is easiest to do. However, by taking the negative road, you actually empower your perceived opponents.
Of course, it may seem to you that in doing your best in this context, you are only giving away your excellence to those who do not appreciate it, or will actually take credit for it. To some extent, this may be true on the short-term. However, excellence cannot be contained for long. Light shines by its very nature. It cannot do otherwise. Although some people regularly take credit for the work of others, everyone knows who is REALLY doing the work, even if they will not admit it for political reasons.
By maintaining a standard of excellence, and growing your personal skills, you are making it every easier for you to find a better situation elsewhere. Indeed, since like attracts like, you cannot be held down for longer than you actually choose to be. Hence, by choosing excellence in all your efforts, you set into motion forces in the universe that will draw excellence to you, and redeem you from whatever you are currently suffering.
You grow to be larger than your present negative situation. Change is the very essence of life. Thus, either the people who are causing you problems will disappear in time, or someone else will come in and effect positive changes. Either way, your demeanor, once change does occur, will determine your future. If your reputation is that of excellence, then you will be elevated. If your profile is negative and bitter, no matter how justified, you will be passed over and others will be "unfairly" favored over you. This is because the mindset you choose to strengthen leads directly to the life you get to live.
Earl Nightingale once wrote that:"The things you learn in maturity seldom involve information and skills. You learn to bear the things you can't change. You learn to avoid self-pity. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You learn that most people are neither for you nor against you but rather are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how much you try to please, some people are never going to love you."
In all things, it is best to be self-referential. Judge yourself by your own standards, and set those standards high; higher than anyone else would set for you. Then, evaluate your performance by how well you are doing with regards to yourself, and not to others, their attitudes, their gossip or their enmity.
Challenges will enter into our lives, for that is the nature of life itself. It is how we respond to them that reveals character and helps to build it. You can decide to grumble, backbite, do as little as possible, and take no serious action to improve your lot. Alternatively, you can act excellently at all times, and outgrow your challenge. Either way, the choice is always yours. For your own sake, let your choice be the right one!
McKinley Health Center: Positive Thinking vs. Mental Misery: Empower Yourself ABCNews: Think Positive Google Directory: Science: Social Sciences: Psychology: Self-Help
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