How to Have High Standards (that don’t kill you)

There’s something fundamental about the desire to improve. Our desire to be more and live up to more is built into our DNA as creatives and entrepreneurs.

Having high standards is a powerful tool in the tool belt for pursuing your creativity and reaching success in your life.

But it can often come at a cost. Because high standards is a razor-sharp knife that can easily harm us as much as it can be of use.

There are a countless number of people who are super successful but absolutely hate themselves.

They’re never good enough for themselves. They seek improvement as a way to escape themselves. There’s also a countless number of people who don’t realize that their high standards are harming them.

I like to think of high standards like riding a strong and powerful Belgian horse. If we give it respect, it will take us where we want to go. But if we cling too tightly to the reigns and try to control everything (even the things that aren’t in our control), we’ll ultimately get thrown off.

Instead, we need to have a loose, but firm grip on the reigns.

What does this look like in practice?

Enjoy your accomplishments in the moment before moving on to the next thing.

It’s easy to go to the next thing than the next without actually taking the time to appreciate what you’ve done, let alone consider where you are going. Accomplishments should be enjoyed, even if they are just stepping stones to greater things. Every single step in the right direction counts.

Be open to more fun and spontaneity.

Fun is often the first thing we cut out from our lives when we are going through difficult times or working hard to make our dreams happen. How can I possibly have fun right now? I’ve got a million things to do. Yes—we all do. That’s no excuse to stop doing the things you love.

If we cut out the fun, we’ll turn into hard, crusty lemons who never enjoy anything and are too bitter to live.

See the bigger picture

The World is bigger than any one of us. Often we pour so much of ourselves into our work and accomplishments that we barely leave time for important things, like friends, family, curiosity, and rest.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1166

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