Get Better – “Because I’m a Better Person Than You.”

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Once again the gauntlet has been thrown. I have taken up arms and the Sep blog battle has been joined. Because I’m a better person than you.

That is a common refrain around my office, “because I’m a better person that you.” Okay, I’ll fess up. It is actually just me and it’s not that often. It is also all a lie. I’m not better. I am actually a recovering fraud hiding behind my insecurity.

There is an a branch of theology that essentially states nothing you do matters, salvation comes to an elect few through no action of their own. This was practiced by the lay members of the early American churches as, “If you got away with it then God loves you. If your crop die or you lose your job you are evil.” This is less innocuously practiced today with phrases like, “I can’t draw. I’m not talented.” Or, worse, “I don’t care, I live a charmed life and can do what ever I want.” It is, in my mind, a cop-out. It means free-will is suborned to some other will. It means my choices are pointless and I may as well just sit on the couch and count flowers on the wall.

When this hit me professionally I had just had a contentious run with a project lead and felt exiled when I moved to my next project. I looked around at the situation and made a discovery, several of the people I graduated with had accelerated their career and I had stalled mine. Some of this was an accident of our exposure, but some what about realizing what’s important. I realized that I was focusing in the wrong things. I changed my focus and got back on track. I now know I was the perfect fit for that exile and I learned awesome perspectives there. I would do it again for the first time.

I can’t promise you that you will be the best, but I can promise you that you can be your best and do things you never thought possible. When studying the luminaries of our industry, most of them have worked hard to be able to do the things that have changed our world, but I’m not sure they are that different from us. Anyone can write a database engine. Anyone can write a programming language. Now, making it good requires effort. And achieving awesome means you stop telling yourself you can’t and never will. At a more personal level I know what keeps me from being a better artist. I don’t draw enough.

So the next time someone notices the fruit roll up in your lunch and expresses envy, let them know the only reason you have it and not them is that you did the work of putting it there in the first place. You know, “because I’m a better person than you.”

So, why do I strive to get better? The choices I make matter and I use those choices to make a better relationship, a better home, a better career, have better fun, and build a better me. I get better so that one day I can say, without a trace of irony, “Because I’m a better person than I was yesterday.”

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