Keep Calm And Up The Ante

I myself am terrified of staying still. I came to resent status quo as much as I once tried preserving it. From what I can tell reminiscing about it, status quo meant, at least from a previous point of view and in the context of improving oneself, reaching the pinnacle in personal development and trying to remain there.

But realizing that personal development is never about the goal, and instead cherishes the moment of progress, the journey of upgrading itself, it became clear that status quo would mean eventual retrogression.

Let us strive to improve ourselves, for we cannot remain stationary: one either progresses or retrogrades. ~ Madame Marie Anne du Deffand

So the answer is really a two-way solution – introduce diversity and try to push the envelope.

keep calm and up the ante

What does constant progress mean?

I for one believe that regardless of the fact that human potential is limitless, there isn’t any point in trying to push above certain barriers. In that same context I’m not here to cite you some flowery prose on going with your head against the wall.

What constant progress means though, the way I see it, is trying to improve in something from every possible angle there is to your current knowledge. When you reach the objective barrier, try introducing diversity and expand your knowledge a little bit. Then adapt with progress again.

Embrace your improvement in its entirety, not a singular conception of progress.

How diversity fits the puzzle?

Diversity allows you exactly that, to be able to spot various routes of possible improvement. It conditions you to, in a certain way, be mindful of the bigger picture when it comes to improvement, providing room for raising the bar.

The average fallacy would be guessing that improvement should be narrowed, thus creating more of an impact.

But it is diversity that saves from the exercise in frustration.

Take artists for example; you will find the authorities among some to be equally dedicated in investigating fields of interest close to their craft, as much as they are to their own form of creating.

Painters refuse to spent days perfecting brush strokes the same way a musician rejects the idea of only trying to master a certain passage. Instead, they invest themselves equally hard into learning various techniques as well as trying to obtain a higher understanding of aesthetics, creating complexity in their work, understanding philosophy even.

Any other way would be going with the head against the wall and eventually retrograding by not using the whole scope of one’s capacity.

Upping the ante is what makes all happen

Pushing the envelope is personal development junkies’ favorite. Once the addiction bites, the bar is being raised higher and higher.

The basic premise is trying to reach higher standards within a certain task, and then some. When diversity meets this way of thinking it is reflected in the way that you disperse these high standards throughout every tangible area of improvement.

Upping the ante is, in itself, the core of personal development.

It is what defeats the notion of status quo, and in a way what invites the change to every aspect of your life. Once you see how far you can push it suddenly takes traction. The harder you push, the luckier you seem to get.

This basic ingredient is pertained in almost every aspect of your life – work, career, relationships, fitness, healthy living, leisure even… In order to fully enjoy them all, the need of constant improving is hard to come around. Every time there is something new to be made, something further to be reached.

It is necessary to try to surpass one’s self always; this occupation ought to last as long as life.

Tony Horton, one of the greatest fitness trainers in the world and a role model of mine, in his marvelous insights about the philosophy of fitness states that one of the core concepts is pushing the envelope every single time. He is now 56 years old and doesn’t even show a trace of aging; upping the ante, as he says, gives you motivation, determination, and even bigger resolve to succeed in life. It feeds both your potential, as well as confidence.

The formula, if there is one, would then go something like this- progress and success come about through the interaction of potential and the constant urge to aim higher.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!” – Les Brown.

You see, the problem with people is not that they aim too high and miss; it is because they aim too low and hit. Up the ante and you’ve already succeeded.

Image credit: By bluestardrop – Andrea Mucelli

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