ever notice how irritating rhetorical questions are to start a blog post?
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i have noticed a truth about me that i think translates to us.
that truth, friends, is the shared border of ‘excellence’ and ‘uh-oh’ and how often it seems that greatness requires a balancing act on this line.
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perhaps, for the purpose of this post, i should define ‘greatness’, because i don’t want to sound like i’m just calling myself great over and over.
joel’s definition of greatness: exceeding near everyone’s expectations in a given situation, especially one’s own. challenging others to be great, providing them with the tools and confidence to be great in their own right, and inspiring them (or oneself) to act.
greatness is not just the spark that kindles a fire – in that case, the ground has been cleared and the wood is stacked and waiting, expectantly, to burn. and let’s not dismiss the joy or fulfillment of kindling flames to life . . . it’s just that greatness isn’t always needed to light an eager fire.
greatness says, ‘you need to clear this ground so that we may build a fire.’
greatness can answer that question.
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what i have learned is how closely the line of greatness is to the line of uh-oh. since excellence challenges boundaries, banging on the walls until those walls shift or crumble all-together, it makes sense that sometimes the momentum can swing to uh-oh.
an easy example is basketball. a player begins to take a difficult shot (we’ll call this nameless player ‘cj leslie’), and the coach, teammates, and fans mutter, ‘no no no, yes!’
soooooooo close to uh-oh, ends up in excellence.
i think that greatness requires the danger of uh-oh to be worthwhile. i can write an excellent essay for a graduate class, following the exact rules of mla, answering the prompt, etc. but i could write a great essay if i take a risk – if i challenge the prompt or attack it from a non-traditional perspective.
of course, this leaves me open to the potential of a serious crash-and-burn.
the borderline exists . . . everywhere, i think. it exists in relationships, it exists in the workplace, it exists even in the misnamed ‘mundanity’ of hobbies and pastimes. i plan to be able to dunk (excellence) when i am 40, no matter the risk to my knees (uh-oh).
i don’t think life was meant to be easy, no matter how often i fool myself into thinking that’s what i want – an easy life. i also think we were not just built to work and fight to survive, at the most base levels –
i think we were built