I have learned that in every activity, class, ambition, dream a person commits to, they draw a line as to how great they wish to be. This line is often not drawn in an attempt to decide how great they are, but more so they draw the line as to how much time and energy they are willing to commit to the given activity; therefore, they indirectly limit the greatness which they can achieve within that facet of their life.
Some choose to draw the line extremely conservatively in everything that they do–lazy or underachievers. Others choose to draw the line so far away in every single activity they participate in that they become over-committed to too many activities — overachievers. You probably relate to one view or the other. If you think you are in the middle of those, either you are an amazing person who has balanced their life greatly and are not over-stretched in any aspect of your life–most likely you are simply lying.
Throughout my childhood I have been preached that I should be involved in everything–everyone always said do everything. I followed. Blindly. It’s not just me, it has happened to a lot of people in this generation. The attitude of jack-of-all-trades. Unfortunately too many people are traveling at 120 mph down the freeway without knowing where the road is taking them.
What did I learn?
The truly successful people are the ones that have found that middle point, where they can draw the line close and far depending on the activity, and effectively allocate their energy.
Why is this Important?
Cliff Notes Version: To be successful you gotta draw the lines, we all have lines which we unconsciously set and it’s time we make conscious decisions to figure out what we will excel at.
Long Version with support:
In one of the books I am currently reading right now, Leadership Gold, Maxwell tells readers to rank their personal skills on a 1-10 scale. He says that most people have few skills that are 7’s and 8’s, while most other skills, such as my writing, are 3’s and 4’s. The problem is that too many people spend all their time improving those countless skills from 3’s and 4’s to 5’s and 6’s. If they applied the same concentrated effort to their 7’s and 8’s, they would become 9’s and 10’s. 9’s and 10’s are mastery. 5’s and 6’s are average.
Without having a line, we get lost in raising the 3’s and 4’s in too many facets of our lives, leaving us “well-rounded” but excellent at nothing. Bill Gates drew his lines and spent countless hours coding throughout high school (check out Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell). What I’m trying to say is that it is great to become a well-rounded person AFTER you master an activity.
The question is: Where do you draw the line and determine what activities means the most?
I’m no guru, I don’t know.
The importance within this post is figuring out which things are going to make you the happiest, which can you see yourself pursuing, and then taking steps towards making that commitment.
Hiding behind the standard college kid excuse “I’m young I don’t know what I want to do” is allowed. Being average is allowed too. If you took the time to read this entire post, something tells me that you’re not average, you want something more.
The person on your proverbial left and right are just as lost as you; they are over committed to a bunch of resume-fillers and “passionate” about 500000 different things. It just might be worth it to start figuring out, talking to mentors, people older than you, that have the fruit you’re looking for on their tree. Draw your lines. For once the lines won’t limit you, they will help you soar to heights you would have never reached otherwise.