Why Good Isn’t Good Enough

25 Jan

Good-is-the-Enemy-of-Great

I think a lot of people find me annoying.

Okay… I KNOW a lot of people find me annoying.

You see, I’m one of those nerds who’s always reading some kind of self-help/improvement/learn how to do something better-ish kind of book.

I mean, really, if you’re ever at Barnes & Noble, check out the self-help section…that’s where you’ll find me. ALWAYS.

There…I said it.

Most people are embarassed to admit that. They think that self-help books are just for losers.

But you know what? Last time I checked, wanting to do something better doesn’t make you a loser. Instead, it makes you the kind of person that refuses to settle…you should be proud of that.

How many of you have good jobs?

How many of you are in good relationships?

How many of you are good writers?

How many of you are good friends?

If you are, you need to be careful. Yea, careful. Because the minute that you accept that you’re “GOOD” at anything, more often than not, you STAY good at it.

Now, I hear you…

“What the heck is she talking about?”

“Why is it bad to be good at something?”

Why???? Here’s why…

Because it means that you settle for “GOOD” instead of working your ass off to get to “GREAT.”

If you don’t understand this, you need to read Jim Collins’ book…Good to Great.

Actually, even if you DO understand this, you should still read it. It’s kind of awesome.

Although the book primarily focuses on companies and organizations and their need to strive for excellence in everything that they do, the concept is very much applicable to our everyday lives.

You know, when you’re BAD at something, chances are that you put a lot of effort towards getting better. But here’s the problem…when you get to being GOOD at it, you usually stop trying.

YES!!!! I”M GOOD!!! SUCCESS!!

But why are we stopping at GOOD? Why is GOOD suddenly the best that there is?

In terms of your career, for example, is it good? If it IS good, what are you actively doing to take it to the next level?

Did you forget that there’s a next level?

In terms of your relationship…is everything good?

It is?! That’s wonderful!

But again, what are you actively doing to make it better?

What are you doing to make it GREAT?

If we settle for good, we’re missing out on a whole lot of potential. And if we’re actually aiming for good, well…quite frankly, we’re not aiming high enough.

I’m a big believer in continuous learning…in continuous improvement.

And you know why?

Because the moment you settle for good, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage…especially if you’re running a company in a competitive market.

The moment you settle for good, that’s where you stay.

And meanwhile, overachieving nerds, like myself, are doing everything in their power to get to the next level.

And then, those people surpass you.

And then, you get left behind.

Yea, you’re GOOD…

Congratulations!

But not good enough.

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27 Responses to “Why Good Isn’t Good Enough”

  1. vibeRadiant January 25, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Your post really resonated with me, thank you!

  2. hfadaifar January 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Wow, I really couldn’t agree anymore. My entire blog is dedicated to achieving Greatness – not mediocrity, not good, not OK, not settling, not being comfortable – but pushing yourself to a higher standard because that’s the only way you grow. And how important is growth? Well it’s everything. Become the best “insert your name here” you can possibly be! I know you agree. Great writing. I really love this article!

  3. shmooz January 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Love your quotes page. I also love self-help books, have found lots of wisdom in the over the years. I had to work hard to overcome the “not quite good enough” feeling left over from childhood. Good post. And thanks for responding to mine.

  4. Brian Washburn January 25, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    I’m a big fan of Jim Collins’ stuff (my work team used one of his more recent books for a book club in the fall and it’s really helped frame some of the ways we work together) – thanks for bringing some of his thoughts to life with your post! “Good is the enemy of great” is a popular quote from the book (and it’s something my CEO preaches at our organization all the time). I’m curious to hear your thoughts on how good vs. great balances with another quote that also resonates with me: “you can’t allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good” (which I interpret to mean that is we wait until something is perfect, it will never get done).

  5. Lauren January 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Reblogged this on Lauren Out Loud.

  6. eddy January 26, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    The winner vs loser debate really needs a lot of improvement. First there are the ‘non participators’. The guys who think they are too good to even participate in the competitions of life. Then there are the ‘quitters'; those who quit everything they start.

    You don’t want to be either of those two. Then come the ‘losers'; these are people who are trying to achieve something but keep failing. There’s no shame in being a loser. Every winner was once a loser. And if you win in one area of your life you might still be a loser in another.

    When you become a winner in every aspect of your life then you become a ‘master’. Don’t stop before becoming the master. Keep trying, losing, winning.

    Great post. Keep writing.

  7. Laura4NYC January 26, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    An interesting concept. So what is the cut-off for being great as opposed to good? When someone has reached the “great” level, will he/she notice and stop? What comes after great? Questions and more questions.

  8. Victoria January 26, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Haha, you’re right, self-help books are NOT for losers! I love reading them, and I can’t remember the last time I picked up a work of fiction to read for fun…..

  9. acuriouslychiclife January 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Fantastic post! I think everyone needs to push a little farther everyday to be better than the last. Never settle for good and never settle for anything less than the very best!

  10. larkycanuck January 27, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    Good point Kayla. But i was also challenged by my doctor several years ago to whom I was complaining about how I was not excellent at this or that and I wont forget what he said to me “Sometimes, good enough is good enough!” Maybe there is a jump from good to great but never forget that getting to great should not overwhelm you in the process.

  11. ohstaci January 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks for the follow! I love this post. We have several big things in common–I’m about to graduate at 20 and pursue an MPA. I also love the self-help section at B&N. There is always room for improvement!

  12. cherylfoston January 27, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Kayla, your blog is very inspiring! We should all aim for greatness within ourselves and not settle. Thank you, for visiting my blog. I am now a fan…:)

  13. Jill Pinnella Corso January 28, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    I live off self-help books too. If you don’t know how to do something, should you just try to make it up? I find it a lot easier to actually learn about it from someone who is successful in that field. …And then make up the rest, maybe.

  14. Sam January 28, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    Read the book…great recommendation!

  15. Caryn January 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    I was in a good relationship (engaged) but realized good wasn’t enough. People get comfortable in the good and don’t want to challenge what they know. They fear the risk, the failure. They are lazy and don’t want to put in that extra effort. But good is settling, it is acceptance rather than pushing for more. So many people are capable to be so much more than good if they only tried. Great post!

    and I think I annoy people too because I am always trying to be positive and influence gratitude and optimism. But don’t change, girl! Annoying just means we are hitting a chord that might just make them not settle for good enough.

  16. Ben January 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    nice post, great message

  17. Mark Geraci Jr. January 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Based on your writing style and focus it’s not hard to see why you have so many followers! One of my favorite self-help books of all time is Frank Betterger’s How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. While business centered, the lessons contained within are universally applicable to all, imo

  18. eabonnin February 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Reading this made me remember all the arguments my mother and I had when I was growing up. I was a good student in high school. I made As and Bs. But I wasn’t GREAT. I wasn’t really pushing myself. And I wasn’t doing my best, I was just coasting through my entire secondary education. My mom would often get on my case about it, and I’d yell back at her “I have good grades, what more do you want?”

    Looking back, I’m kind of glad she continued to push me. Because when I finally moved from the Philippines to the US and had the opportunity to study here, I decided I wasn’t going to settle for “good”, I was going to try for “great”. And I hit the ground running.

    I’m guessing from some of your recent posts that you followed me from The Grad Cafe? If so, we might be in the same boat waiting for decisions. So if that’s the case, good luck, hope you hear back soon. :)

  19. lornephi February 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Jim Collins has been one of my favorite authors and business teachers for years. The way you captured the essence of his thoughts from a professional to a personal perspective was very insightful.
    If you like self help books can I recommend (although I am sure your have read them) is the book of awesome. Just thoughts of things that happen in life and make you smile

    Cheers,
    Lorne

  20. Rodney Keith Richardson February 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    This post is excellent and a must read for any generation! I am hard-pressed to believe you are a “20-something” because your wise words seem to ferment from the mind and experience of someone much older. TY! ;-)

  21. michelenatalie February 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Loveeee this! I can definitely relate! Keep writing. You have an awesome outlook on life!

  22. Dale Shafer February 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Developing yourself is the best way to keep growing. In fact, I have turned my car into a rolling university filled with audio books – content to help me become a better in leadership, family, and business.

    Just ‘good enough’ is never really enough. Great post, Kayla!

  23. JF Owen February 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    Outstanding!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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