Great is so close to good, it really doesn’t make sense to stop at just good.
When I was in first grade my teacher, Mrs. Scott told us that takes so much effort to get even, you might as well work just a little harder and get ahead. It takes a lot of work to be good at something. Most of the time, we do not get to good overnight. There is preparation, training, trying, re-trying and perfecting. Think about one of the first things that people ever learn to do – walk. No child goes from crawling to walking across the floor with ease and grace. To the contrary, at the start of things there are shaking steps while holding on to pets, furniture and parents. Later, there are shaky steps from one handhold to the next. Then after countless steps, falls, stops and starts, there is success. The baby, now appropriately called a toddler, is able to walk.
Over the course of a lifetime there will be many instances like this one. Learning to read, ride a bike, drive a car and even run a business. Life events and challenges will occur and you will have to work hard in order to get good at something. You will expend countless hours working to be a good person, a good employee, a good spouse, a good parent, a good entrepreneur and good at a myriad of things. It will take hours upon hours, upon hours to get to good. In fact, it will be exhausting work.
When you put in all that work, you will notice that while you are good at whatever it is you have been working on, you are not great. Great is close to good, really close. Even in the dictionary, good is only a few pages away from great. Don’t stop at good, put in a little more work and go for great. Great is where the good rewards are found. Great is where true success is found. Think of good as the journey and great as the finish line you should aim to reach. `
Going from good to great is worth the extra effort it will take.
Getting from good to great takes time, practice and effort. Let’s look at a professional athlete for an example to make the point clear. When he got to the NBA, Michael Jordan was clearly recognized as a good basketball player. He could have had a fine career as a good basketball player. He would have made a good deal of money, garnered endorsement deals and been thought of fondly by fans of the sport for years to come. But, we all know Michael Jordan was not merely a good basketball player, he was a great basketball player, perhaps one of the best ever to play the game. He did not stop at good, he came to practice early and stayed late working to move from a good player, to a great player.
If you desire to be successful, to be appreciated and to be thought of in good terms by your peers and those around you, do not settle for being good. Instead, put in the work to be great. We all know people who are good at things. We like good parents. We want our children to have good teachers. We want good friends. We want business to be good. Good makes us happy.
Great on the other hand is a thing we treasure. Great parents are appreciated by their children and admired by those who see them. Great teachers are the ones who give our children a thrill and enthusiasm for learning. Great friends stick with us, never leave us and are with us for a lifetime. Great businesses enable us not just to earn a living, but to make a life. The rewards of great of so much more than the rewards for good, it makes sense to go for great.
I wish I knew where my first grade teacher Mrs. Scott was today. I would tell her that I have worked to heed her instruction. She would be pleased to know that not only do I follow the lesson she taught me, I work to help others learn the lesson as well. What will you do in your life, both professionally and personally to go from good to great?