I’m a big fan of continuous improvement – in both business and personal life.
But some advocates of this discipline are beyond me.
Take, for instance, Émile Coué’s conscious autosuggestion:
Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.
This exhortation is so demanding, I can’t keep up with the damn thing!
So I think I’ve a better idea …
Too-hard basket case
First, let’s unpack Émile’s proposition.
‘Every day’ is Draconian, totalitarian (and possibly Orwellian).
It includes Mondays, public holidays, days we can’t get out of bed and days we’re too busy to scratch ourselves.
‘Every way’ is even more demanding.
It’s hard enough to pull off a good day’s work. Must we simultaneously improve our health, knowledge, relationships, finances and everything else too?
‘Better and better’ is not only elitist, it’s a tautology.
Whatever happened to ‘near enough is good enough’ and ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’?
Agreed, those last two might be a little underachieving.
So here’s my seven-out-of-ten idea:
Almost every day, in at least one way, I’m getting better.
This give us scope.
- Go for a swim, we needn’t eat bran.
- Walk the dogs, we can have a beer.
- Suffer a completely crapola week, we can skip a day until things improve.
The trick is to keep moving forward, but with a bit of wiggle room either side.
Going the distance
Faced with overpowering goals, I tend to give up rather than smash through.
But I can devour an entire sourdough baguette, if I slice it into manageable bits.
A year of around 300 small-to-medium-sized improvements, with a few biggies for effect, is nothing to sneeze at.
And it’s heaps better than throwing your hands up and doing squat.
My counsellor likes the middle way a lot, but what do you think?
As you can see, my view of life is literal.
I need you to moderate my perceptions.
Is my middling mantra a clever compromise or a cringing cop out?
You can comment now, later or not at all.
For on balance, and with good faith,
I believe we’ll succeed in