When it comes to achieving goals, many of us may be thinking about them the wrong way.
All good stories involve dying. The often-literal death of a mentor almost inevitable requires the hero to grow and move on in his journey. But there is also the shedding of a character’s old identity in exchange for a new way of being. Not to mention, the loss of friends and foes throughout any adventure are a necessary part of the process. Death is a part of every great story, and so it must be for all great lives, as well.
Often, we think the way to stand out from the pack is to be better. And sometimes that is the answer: to become an improved version of who you were yesterday, to do what the “other guy” is doing with a few added features. However, this is often a losing strategy, as you are making iterative improvements on someone else’s work. A better way to become world-class at what you do is to change the game completely. Don’t be better; be different.
“Just be yourself” is probably the worst advice we could ever receive or give. Few of us actually know who we really are. And yet, if we can acquire this art of self-awareness, everything changes.
Recently while speaking onstage, I heard myself say something I didn’t plan on saying. I didn’t rehearse it. I didn’t have it in my notes. It just came out. The line was: “Sometimes, the good has to end before the better can begin.”