There’s one fact which strikes me time and time again whenever I stretch myself to the limit of my skills.
I have written about it again and again but maybe I have used the wrong word. I’ve used phony.hollow.mediocre. I’ve said that I am not as good as people think I am.
But maybe there’s a simpler explanation. Maybe I am not as good as I think I am. I’ve often looked at my father and wondered – doesn’t he realise he’s just not good enough in what he thinks he is? Why doesn’t he see the glaring truths? But it has served him well, it has given him an impeccable confidence and self respect which has carried him far – not seeing. I am his son, maybe I am not so different after all. But. The times have changed.
There’s a wall which everyone reaches sooner or later when they ride down the path of their lives. I’ve run rode crawled for a decade in the assumption that the wall is far far away. And that assumption has brought me further than I would have come. But. Maybe what I see now is the wall.
Maybe the difference between ordinary and great is that they find a way past that wall. Let us not use the word great. Let us use the word good. Maybe the difference between the ordinary and the good is they find a way past the wall. We saw yesterday how an Indian badminton player gave all that she had to give, making the words world class superfluous, yet turned out to be second best. Imagine how painful it must be for her. She’ll find a way beyond the wall sooner or later because she is good. She’ll find a way to greatness. But there were countless other Indians who she must have faced during her career, whom she defeated without breaking a sweat, who looked pedestrian in front of her. They must have known at that very moment that they do not belong. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t really good. They just are ordinary. But my profession and my life isn’t like badminton. There’s no world class opponent against which I can gauge myself. It’s like golf. Today I miss a putt, I get closer. I think I can get closer tomorrow. Tomorrow I get in the putt somehow. Day after tomorrow I again miss. It’s always hit miss hit miss hit miss, which keeps me in the game, which keeps me deluded or hopeful, whichever way I prefer to look at it.
So I strive and I strive. I find footholds on that wall. But it’s too high for me, i am just hanging on for dear life. There’s no way up, there’s no way around, all the equipment can take me only so far. The people waving from the top of the wall aren’t me. It’s as simple as that. Just because I can see them I can hear them I can touch them they are egging me on doesn’t mean I am them or they are mine. It doesn’t mean I could be them.
So maybe it’s time to accept the cards I have been dealt. In everything. In work, in life, in relationships. I’ve been seated at the exact table where I belong, and peeking time and again – coveting a better table with higher stakes and higher rewards, spending everything I have to reach there isn’t going to take me there. Maybe it’s time to embrace my own table.
Admiring extraordinary, aiming for extraordinary, dreaming extraordinary, fantasizing extraordinary, striving for extraordinary with every sinew doesn’t make one that. It just makes the ordinary seem mediocre, when it definitely isn’t.
You are what you are. You have what you have.
Embrace that. Lower the stakes. Stop a while and admire the wall. Build a house in its shade, instead of building a house of cards on top of it. You don’t belong up there, you belong down here for now. Tomorrow, day after, next year when you embrace what you have, maybe just maybe the wall will recede just a little bit and you can take a step or two.
What price hanging on?