Right vs. Acceptable…

“Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.”

Franz Kafka

The definition of “acceptable” in the dictionary is: “meeting only minimum requirements; barely adequate.” 

I can’t think of too many times in my life where “acceptable” is actually acceptable.  When it comes to the things that are important, the places where I choose to invest my time, effort and energy, meeting a minimum requirement just doesn’t cut it.  It reminds me of the old adage that my Dad, and I am sure many other parents over the years, instilled in my brother and I from a young age.  “Any job worth doing, is worth doing right.”  

I remember that being a mantra that would haunt me as a kid if I was doing some chore I didn’t want to do.  When Dad would check on my progress  if my work didn’t meet the standard he had set for me he would make me do it again.  I learned quickly that if I didn’t want to have to do it over, I’d better do it right the first time.

As I reflect back on it now the key I learned was this.  You must have a clear definition of what great looks like for anything that you are doing and choosing to invest your precious time in.  If you don’t know what great looks like, how can you possibly measure your progress and hold yourself accountable for doing it right?  Otherwise, you run the risk of simply being acceptable.  No one celebrates a merely acceptable effort.

 

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