Thursday, April 22, 2010

Be all you can be

There used to be this advertisement the Armed Forces. I think it was the Army. It went something like be all you can be. I think about that a lot. To me being all that I can be is not so much about raw achievement as it was in the advertisement as much as being as human as I can be. It's about humanity.

Being good at a lot of things is pretty easy. For example riding a bike or walking or even running are all pretty easy skills to learn. Even more complicated skills are relatively easy to learn. Things like mathematics or accounting. Sure, it's a lot of work but they're still easy to learn.

I'm not sure why I struggle with humanity.Perhaps learning humanity is a struggle because it's a personally challenging endeavor. In learning most skills we build ourselves up. In learning humanity we have to understand that we aren't great at what we do. We must stop and reflect on the fact that we might be bad people in some regards. Each of us has probably done a bad thing from time to time. It's personally challenging to believe that we don't need to be competitive. It's okay not to be the best at something. It's okay if somebody else has great ideas and does great things.

Conventional wisdom is similar to the Army commercial that I mentioned earlier. We believe that in order to be all we can be we must push ourselves to accomplish as much as we possibly can. Being good people is a challenge because in some regards it requires unlearning so many of those things that we spend so much time learning throughout our entire lives. Sometimes being a good person means letting someone else come in first place.

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