All my life, I've heard the same things over and over again. Calm down. Mellow out. Eat your vegetables. Okay, maybe that last one doesn't fit the trend but I can assure you, I've heard just about every other variation on this theme that there is. Apparently, I tend to make the cattle nervous. That's fine by me, as I think cows are just a bit too laid back to begin with. This probably has something to do with why they're such a popular entrée.
Be that as it may, it's widely known among my friends that I came factory equipped with a two speed motor: on and off. Although some are willing to pay extra for the models with all those nifty gears in between, to me they're just a waste of time. My personal motto is quite simple. Anything worth doing is worth doing to extremes.
Of course, this means that folks continually shake their heads at my antics and wonder aloud if I'll ever grow up and learn moderation. I'm guessing that the two are related, since pursuing your goals with passion is, in many minds, the hallmark of adolescence. If that's the case, then you can bet that I will forever play my music too loud, drive too fast, and dive into any endeavor I undertake with everything I've got.
I'm used to having people question my conviction that the only way to burn is white hot. For some reason, many have been brought up to believe that extremes are a bad thing and that moderation is the key to life. Personally, I have no clue as to what the meaning of life may be, but I do know one thing. Excellence, by definition, is an extreme. And I believe that excellence is, without a doubt, a good thing.
In fairness, being a creature of extremes is not entirely without its risks. Hitting the wall at 100 miles an hour is a bit more of an exciting event than making contact at 20, and trust me, that's just not the sort of excitement that most of us want. However, does this mean that we should never go full throttle? Of course not. It simply indicates that if you throw yourself heart, body and soul into your pursuits, you'd darned well better know how to steer.
Another thing to keep in mind is that other people have feelings, too, and they're just as important as yours are. When you strive for excellence in a group environment, some will be unhappy because they feel that you're making them look bad, or perhaps are raising the bar and forcing them to perform at a higher level of effort than they care to offer.
Does this mean that you must therefore lower your own standards? Don't be silly. However, it does point out that you should always be aware of the consequences of your actions, and wherever possible approach your work in a manner that is considerate of others. Although there are many ways to do this, start by including them in the glory that your high standards will naturally bring, even if they did little to help. It might be just what they need to see the point of giving it their best. Witnessing such a transformation in people can be a rewarding experience.
Most of all, however, you need to realize that life will not conveniently deliver the pot of gold to your door while you sit on your posterior watching old reruns of I Love Lucy. If you want something better, in any area of your life, you have to give it your all. Learn to ignore those who would cool your jets, and go for it anyway. Only when you shake off the limitations in your own mind can you reach for the stars. Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing to extremes.