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Published:January 9th, 2007 16:11 EST
Not Your Standard Life - Raise your Standards

Not Your Standard Life - Raise your Standards

By Kent Healy

From the outside, it looked like any other roadside café in the middle of a barren desert. From the inside, it looked like nothing we could ever imagine! 
 
When I walked in the front door, my jaw dropped to the floor.  The place was loaded with “stuff”!  The room was jam-packed with 1950s antiques, gadgets, and toys—every piece of 1950s memorabilia that was ever produced was there in that room. Honest! Every corner, every shelf, every spot on the wall was loaded!
 
Despite the clutter, one thing really grabbed my attention. A yellow plastic sign hung over the grill. It read, “If we don’t meet your standards, feel free to lower yours.”
 
The sign made me forget how skeptical I was about the meal I just ordered.  Instead, the sign made me think about how many of us do just that: Lower our standards as we live our lives. If we don’t meet our expectations or achieve a specific goal, we often just adjust our goals around the result—but this is very dangerous territory! I’m certainly not pointing fingers either. I’ve been guilty of this too. When times get tough, however, it’s much easier to lower our standards to avoid becoming disappointed than it is to remain committed to a result that tests our dedication, determination and strength of will.
 
The problem is, when we lower our standards, we instantly curtail our potential, lower the level of happiness we can experience, and cheat the rest of the world of the many gifts we’ve been given to share with the greater good. Life then gradually develops into a job—it’s something we “have” to do, rather than something we “get” to do.
 
And by the way, what is a “standard”?  It’s a measure of achievement you must attain to allow yourself to feel like did your best.  What you’re willing to settle for is often going to be the extent to which you achieve.  In other words, it’s rare to achieve more than you set out to do or get results beyond your expectations or personal standards.  How far are you willing to go?  What are you willing to sacrifice?
 
It may sound like an oversimplification, but hey, the standards you set for yourself have a lot to do with what you’re willing to try and what you’re willing to endure to get a specific result.  Don’t settle for less, settle for more.
 
Easier said than done of course, but the quality of your life lies in YOUR hands.  If you don’t take responsibility for yourself no one else will. Remember:
 
A half effort is as close to the bottom as it is to the top.

We all know it’s easier to be lazy and just give in to mediocrity.  The difficult part is getting the desire and discipline necessary to succeed. Most people prefer success, but lack the discipline. You might be saying, “Well duh, I know I need the discipline, but how do I get it?”  Here’s the first thing you need to know:

Discipline comes by convincing yourself that the sacrifices are worth the rewards.

And the rewards ARE worth it.  Be prepared to give life your best shot and ditch mediocrity.

Settle for more. Make it happen.