Reach for it. Push yourself as far as you can. – Christa McAuliffe
What does that mean?
This quote, I believe, is fairly straight forward. It is urging us not to settle, not to wait, not to hesitate. It says to reach for it, where ‘it’ is anything and everything you might want in life.
It also urges us to push ourselves as far as possible. It urges to not settle for whatever happens in our lives, but to go as far as we can, to push the limits and to break free from the bonds of the ordinary. In short, it urges us to become our best possible selves.
It also implies that there will be a certain level of regret if you don’t follow the quote. What would have happened if you had asked that person to dance? What would have happened if you had taken the job in another city? What would have happened if you had dared to start your own company?
If you don’t reach for it, you will never know, will you?
Why is striving for excellence important?
This quote isn’t about being mediocre. It’s not about settling for whatever comes your way. It’s not about having regrets because you decided that the path was too hard or too risky. It’s about having the strength and courage to set off on the path.
Excellence doesn’t just happen. Yes, there is a certain level of natural talent, but that rarely comes to the level of excellence. That is achieved by hard work and the taking of risks. Even the best baseball players strike out more often than they get on base. Stepping up to the plate is a risk, but you cannot achieve excellence sitting on the bench in the dugout.
We all have aspects in our lives where we aren’t pushing ourselves as far as we can. How much more can we be if we strive for excellence? How much of a difference could we make in the lives of others? How much more could we do with and for others? We can find out by striving for excellence. By pushing ourselves to do all we can, we achieve excellence, and become our best possible selves in the process.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Recently, I have talked about doing something even if you don’t think you’re ready, and about the concept that death is as natural as life. However, today we talk about the regrets of what might have been, if you hadn’t tried or if you had settled to be something less than you could have been and of failing to achieve excellence.
Yes, the person of the quote died as a result of what they had pushed themselves to accomplish. But how would she have felt if she had ignored her potential and never taken that step? How many people have been inspired to step forward and take the risks in life, both small and large, to strive for excellence?
Yes, life has risks. Any one of us could die at any moment, be it from a stray meteor, a bullet, or a traffic accident. Risk cannot be eliminated from life, but it can be managed. And some things are more risky than others. But that doesn’t mean you don’t do it, right?
We all do risky things in our lives. How many of us hold on to the stair rail for every step up and down every staircase? Yet falls down the stairs still kill people every year. That is a risk many of us chose to take. Some of us ride motorcycles or jump out of functioning aircraft, a risk, but one we chose to take, in pursuit of what we can become.
Where in your life have you let something like risk or lack of strength or courage stop you from achieving excellence? Sometimes I wonder what would my life have been like if I had pushed myself all the way to the rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts. There really wasn’t much risk involved, just a lot of hard work over a fairly long period of time.
I know it would have helped me with my focus and organizational skills. It would have helped me with my stick-to-it-ivness, and my self-discipline. It also would have opened quite a few doors in life. It even would have helped reduce my car insurance premium as a teenager. In short, I am not all I could have been because I didn’t push myself way back then.
What have you not done in your pursuit of excellence? Grab some paper and write down three of them, ones where you could still make some progress if you reached out, if you pushed yourself. Next to each one, write down why you think you didn’t push yourself before, and why you feel it would be beneficial to do so now.
Try to make the reason why you want to do it now as compelling as you possibly can. Why? There will come a day when you’re ready to give up. These words are there so that you can look at them and feel refreshed and commit yourself to push yourself past this low point and get back to it.
Now select one and consider what steps you can take to get you back on the path towards excellence. Do you need time, skills, money, education, or just a little courage? Can you trade one for another, like money for a class to learn a skill?
Since everyone will have a different answer, so you’ll have to figure out this part on your own. However, the most important step is the first one. Take it, now. Find something you can do right this instant, even if it’s just writing an e-mail to request information on class schedules, or finding a book online that can help you learn.
We all have dreams, we all have excellence within us. It is up to us to find the courage to reach for our dreams, and the strength to push ourselves until we have achieved excellence. But it’s up to us. Are you ready to go?
From: Twitter, @Ellsbeth
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/christamca352966.html
Photo by NASA
Christa McAuliffe was an American teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, and was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, on 28 January, 1986.