Monday, 20 May 2013
I had lunch with Al Reid last week – not the Al Read who was a comedian who used to say “You’ll be lucky – I say you’ll be lucky” – the Al Reid who runs a Brand consultancy /Design Shop in Brighton called Red Design.
We talked about how one could judge if one was fulfilling one’s potential and how much better each of us could be if we tried if we…if we did what? We reflected that most of us ambled or dozed our way through life underperforming and (worse) not even realising we were doing that.
Cut to Birmingham.
Michael Gove at the National Association of Head Teachers’ Conference was given a good kicking and treated by the class in the way they’ve learned from their customers – the underperforming children. Here’s what they said:
“you’re like a fanatical personal trainer constantly urging teachers to jump higher and higher”
Well isn’t that just what teachers are supposed to do? What’s with the lazy laissez faire guys? Why this defence of mediocrity? Detention for the whole lot of you….
Some of you may remember my story about a child, predicted to get D’s and E’s in her GCSEs and told by her teachers she was a “dunce”. In short she was constantly urged to jump lower and lower. In the event intensive, personal coaching over 6 months by someone who loved her, got her a mass of A’s (an ‘A*’ enticed out of a predicted ‘F’) and now she’s saying she’d like to try for Oxbridge.
So how good could you be?
First try and try until you fail that’s how. Do what Robin Cousins American trainer counselled - “skate to fall”.
Secondly find a great mentor who inspires and stretches you - someone like a “fanatical personal trainer”.
Third use your time better. You have about 2,500 hours useful working time a year. Focus your efforts on self- improvement into that time. Don’t waste it on things you are no good at. Kafka advised “follow you most intense obsessions mercilessly” …they’d have loved him at Birmingham.
Fourthly set the bar higher. Try to be the best in the world. Go for Gold. There’s nothing wrong with ambition – in fact self- belief, energy and positive drive are enchanting.
Finally remember what the brilliant sports coach Steve Peters said:
Life is not fair
The goalposts always move
Your job is to do your best under the circumstances
Think about what your best could be if you tried, really tried to go for it.