Basketball coaches (and most every other coach) often say at the end of a practice, “Ok guys, this was a so-so practice, let’s be sure to have a really good one tomorrow and put in a full 100%.”
Andy hated when coaches said this because he put in 100% and thought the “We need to give more effort” line was hackneyed and ineffective because of overuse. I understood his frustration. He worked harder (100% all the time) than anyone on the team. But for most of us the reality is we do waver from 100% to 95% back to 100% effort.
Yet even if you are one of those people who thinks (or actually is) a 100%, A+ effort 24/7 kind of guy, accepting this reality can be a dangerous psychological mindset.
If you settle for 100% or A+ then you are settling. The crave to improve evaporates. If you feel like you’ve peaked then you’ve lost your “intrapersonal culture of improvement”.
One reason why I like personal development books / blogs / articles so much is they speak to the idea that we can all improve ourselves and our lives. I’m really happy right now, but why could I not be even happier? I think I’m a pretty organized guy, but who says I couldn’t be even more organized?
I think I’m working really hard at practice, but surely there are ways I could work even harder (or smarter).
This introspection and focus on improvement combats the dangerous mindset of accepting the “status quo” which translates into complacency. Like everything, this is a balancing act. I think you need to at once appreciate and celebrate your own hard work, and then strive to build on it.