Winston Churchill, one of the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century, once said, "Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required."
Admitting when we just don't measure up is difficult for many people. They believe it's a sign of weakness to admit one's deficiencies.
However, I have the opposite opinion. How can you grow if you don't understand your realistic limitations? Perhaps you can improve upon them in a way that will help you to future successes. Or maybe you'll understand certain things are just not for you. And let's be honest, who the hell wants to be around someone who can do everything to flawless perfection?
I hope you read the sarcasm in that last line.
Although it does sting, the realization that you're not good enough should not be an ego-crushing experience. It's a recurring thing in our lives, so we'd better learn how to deal with it. It happens in all areas of our existence.
For example, in one of my past lives, I spent close to 20 years in the Southern California real estate business. I worked with quite a few people from all walks of life. I've worked with sellers and buyers. When I worked with buyers, my method was to have them speak with a lender early in the process. This way, we all knew what they could afford and what they couldn't. It's terrible when someone falls in love with a property they can't have.
That being said, there were times when that limit would be pushed, such as when they found a hot property and we were competing against other buyers. This meant they needed to come in with their highest and best offer. This demand generally drove the eventual selling price up, often making their best offer not good enough.
Did that mean my clients were terrible people? Are they losers because they can't afford the price the sellers want?
Of course not.
In life, as inn real estate, sports, the job market, or in relationships, not being good enough doesn't mean you're a horrible or despicable person. Perhaps it means this house or this game or this job or this relationship was not for you. You did not meet the expectations required of you.
You can do the best you can, not be good enough, and still be a good person. Admitting this does seem to be a problem for some people. But not for me. How else can I improve my life if I don't regularly make an objective examination of myself?
Believe it or not, I also do this with my writing. I'm very critical of my work. It's a learning process, even at my age. I believe I'm a very good writer, but there is always room for improvement. The day I stop believing this, I've officially become a pompous, egotistical, full-of-himself jerk. Then, you can stick a fork in me. I'm done!
Over the years I've learned that because one publisher rejects my story, it doesn't mean it was a terrible story or that I'm a terrible writer. It means that particular story was not for them. Of course, I have to be objective and understand if there are areas of improvement needed. Maybe it really wasn't good enough.
And that means, I just have to do better next time.