Daily Writing #32: You must raise your standards to become successful

I am sure you would have heard Tony Robbins somewhere in a video saying the exact same thing, i.e. to raise your standards.

He believes this to be one of the most important factors of success.

I believe it wholeheartedly.

You must raise your standards to become successful
Photo by Joshua Golde on Unsplash

31 days earlier I had written about 8 articles on medium in a year. Now the tally stands at 32 including this one. Granted the word limit isn’t something to be proud of but I never wrote 30 articles in my life.

Now when I have, it gives me confidence in my abilities. I am far from labeling myself as a great writer after even 30 days. I am not writing long-form essays here. I will get to that point too. But that’s not the point here.

If I keep on writing daily for a long time my writing is bound to improve. Someday that point will come when people will resonate with it and feel that it’s good and I am worthy of being called a writer.

I am telling you all this because 30 days back I didn’t believe in myself. My standards were low. I believed that I couldn’t write every day even for 7 days let alone 30.

But seeing Ayodeji Awosika performing this feat for 5 years straight made me think. If he can, why can’t I?

It was just that question that led me to make a promise to myself to raise my standards and start taking action.

After 30 days I can tell that it’s been worthwhile.

Expect more from yourself. Do not at any cost set lower quality goals. Seek out people who are at a higher level than you in your chosen field. Emulate their process. Do not stop until your work matches their standard of work.

The first step is to believe that you can.

Magic happens when we believe in ourselves. The world shows us the way to higher standard goals just as it would show you the way to a lower one. The difference is you have to ask it. Your greatness lies in your own hands.

You must be the initiator. Once you do that, your brain will figure the rest of the stuff out.

But most of us never even believe that we can reach that level. We think that type of greatness is reserved for people who are different from the rest of us. These are some aliens from other planets performing at an unthinkable level of quality.

But if you look a bit closer you will realize that these people also started at the beginning some day. The only difference is that they kept going. Sure they might have greater talent than you. But your success will be your own. You don’t have to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Denning.

You become the best you.

As often in my earlier articles, I post a quote at the end from people who are wiser than me. So here’s what architect Christopher Alexander says on the importance of high standards:

In my life as an architect, I find that the single thing which inhibits young professionals, new students most severely, is their acceptance of standards that are too low. If I ask a student whether her design is as good as Chartres, she often smiles tolerantly at me as if to say, “Of course not, that isn’t what I am trying to do. … I could never do that.”

Then, I express my disagreement, and tell her: “That standard must be our standard. If you are going to be a builder, no other standard is worthwhile. That is what I expect of myself in my own buildings, and it is what I expect of my students.”

Gradually, I show the students that they have a right to ask this of themselves, and must ask this of themselves. Once that level of standard is in their minds, they will be able to figure out, for themselves, how to do better, how to make something that is as profound as that.

Two things emanate from this changed standard. First, the work becomes more fun. It is deeper, it never gets tiresome or boring, because one can never really attain this standard. One’s work becomes a lifelong work, and one keeps trying and trying. So it becomes very fulfilling, to live in the light of a goal like this.

But secondly, it does change what people are trying to do. It takes away from them the everyday, lower-level aspiration that is purely technical in nature, (and which we have come to accept) and replaces it with something deep, which will make a real difference to all of us that inhabit the earth.

Christopher Alexander

Source: Foreword to Patterns of Software by Richard P. Gabriel

Original Source: newsletter of James Clear.

I write daily here on my blog. There is no limit to the word count. I am not focusing on any topic here. I want to build a daily writing habit. This is Day 32 of the Daily Writing Challenge in 2022.

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