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March 21, 2014
In high school, there are always the students that seem to have it all together.
They somehow manage to juggle athletic commitments, leadership responsibilities, club meetings and a social life... all while maintaining an impressive grade point average.
If you are part of this fortunate fraction to whom success comes with a relative effortlessness, it is very easy to find yourself settling with being "good enough."
Riding the waves of your teachers' approval and your peers' respect is... comfortable.
It's a reputation and a lifestyle that works itself into the fabric of your identity. You're familiar with working hard, and your time management is to be admired.
Compliments and words of congratulation are frequently showered in your direction.
Without really being of aware of it, it's very easy to get used to it all. It's easy to unconsciously assume you'll achieve everything you attempt, and remain consistently above the curve.
I'm sure we're all familiar with Aesop's Fable about the Tortoise and the Hare. Usually, the take home lesson is that the "slow and steady" one wins the race, but the story can also be considered from an alternative perspective.
The hare can be seen as the "talented" racer, the racer with every required resource and ability. The assumption that he will cross the finish line first seems painfully obvious to every
spectator; yet, it is his overconfident self-assurance that causes him to relax... to get just a little bit too comfortable. He never considers failure as an option, because winning has always been easy for him.
I write this article as a second year student at UBC. I admit, I have been guilty of harbouring the misinformed idea that "I'm good enough... just as I am right now."
I have also watched other students confidently enter university with that entitled mentality, only to be emotionally shattered by the first test results and grade finals.
Skills such as writing, researching, calculating, leading, and managing are all examples of skills that we can continuously strive to improve on.
Outside of school, maybe it's our athletic ability, musical ear, or cultural awareness that we're proud of.
Maybe we're known as the star soccer player on our team, or the graphic designer in our classroom.
Pausing to ask ourselves how we can continue to improve and develop our skills ensures that we put our abilities to good use, and never take our gifts for granted.
Self-evaluating, setting small goals, choosing role models that demonstrate higher competence, and never settling for "good enough" will help prevent a lot of regrets down the line.
Obviously, one cannot be accomplished at everything. Life can get busy and overwhelming.
As the responsibilities and worries of adult life start to fill the creases of our mind, it becomes more and more important to identify our priorities and make decisions as to which skills we want to support and foster.
There will be some periods when incremental improvement may seem impossible, but if we're ever bored with the predictable monotony of a non-challenging schedule, I'm sure the efforts we apply to improvement will be rewarding.