Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Only Human

Have you ever heard one person say to another, "I'm going to give this one hundred percent."?
You probably have. At the risk of allowing reality to piss on a perfectly good bonfire I'm going to suggest that such a proclamation is borderline insane.
Think about it. One hundred percent. Perfection. Does that seem to be a realistic target to you? Ok, I accept that what the term actually commits to is the noble goal of giving our best, but I've come to suspect there are dangers in unrealistic expectation. Take for example my job. Over the course of four years I've probably taken tens of thousands of calls. It's a relentless and unpredictable conveyor belt of humanity that never stops. During this time I've probably been taken to task formally three, maybe four times. Roughly once a year, setting aside the more minor discrepancy's that the law of averages would predict. I'm good at what I do and confident in my ability. I'm also perfectly confident that every now and again I'm going to drop the ball and do or say something stupid. Worse, I psychologically factor this in and simply accept when dealing with these kinds of volume, perfection is simply out of the question.
Am I wrong to think this way? I don't think so. I happen to think I'm being a realist, being honest about my own propensity for error and human enough to accept it's a part of who I am. This leads me neatly into the point I'm angling at, which is to question whether we're always being totally realistic in our expectations? Step outside of just work commitments now, widen the canvas and ask yourself just how likely is it that you're always going to be the perfect parent, perfect lover, perfect friend?
Admit it, it's an insane expectation. It's barmy. Why do we kid ourselves?
Now the obvious objection is that if we set a high target and aspire to it we stand a better chance of being better at what we do. I agree, but this does nothing to defeat my general point that sometimes we just have to be honest and accept that we're human, fallible, subject to error and misdemeanour.
And guess what? I'm actually quite pleased about this. A perfect world would be a very dull place. Nobody to encourage, nobody to get alongside and support, nobody to inspire.
So come on everyone, take a load off your back and just accept that you are human. It takes nothing away from you, and doesn't mean you shouldn't aspire to be the best that you can be. It's just a simple acknowledgement about the real world and our place in it. And it's also just plain honest, and there's no greater quality than that.

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