The curse of giftedness is laziness. It's complacency. It's settling for mediocrity, because mediocrity for a highly gifted person might be brilliance for a less gifted one. A one-talent person has to work hard to gain every inch. But a ten-talent person – a highly-gifted musician or chef or hairdresser or speaker – can coast for miles, and still get applause.

Recently I took a hard look in the mirror and realized I've been coasting in a few things. I'm not highly gifted in anything. But there are a few areas I've been living short of my ability.

I'm putting a plan together to change that.

Here's what my plan includes:

• Engaging in honest self-assement. I have to muster the courage to look full at myself and admit where I've become lazy, ineffective, unproductive, or deficient.
• Seeking honest feedback. I need others who love me enough to tell me the truth, no matter how unflattering, and then give them permission to tell it.
• Carving out time. No one drifts toward excellence. For me, two things are crucial to my getting better: reading, and practice. Both require dedicated time.
• Finding someone ahead of me willing to help me. I seek people who are brilliant at what I want to get better at, and I ask them to teach me or coach me.
• Deciding what success looks like. I try to envision what getting better looks like and then I set measurable goals toward it.

I'm writing this from Chicago, where I'm attending the Willow Creek Summit. This morning Senior Pastor, Bill Hybels, said we should all change our middle name to "Better," as a pledge to live up to our full potential.

I have no intent of changing any part of my name.

But I do intend to get better.

What about you? Is there any area you're living short of your ability? What's your plan to get better? I'd love to hear about it.



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Better

  1. Whenever someone asks me how things are going — quite often I reply, "Always room for improvement." We can so easily be lulled into complacency by not wanting to seek change. We all have room for change and improvement in various areas of our lives.

  2. I really like the challenge.  I think God calls all of us to be better and to continually to grow.  As long as we do not add the last name :Than! Better is good, but Better Than will stop us from growing. Thank you for posting your thoughts.

  3. I like your list of ways in which to improve but I’m feeling somewhat unsettled in my spirit. The world is always telling us to be better, perform better, live better in order to achieve a better standard of life according to the world.
    The first question I would ask myself is: Why do I want to get better at anything; what is my motivation? Is it for self-glorification and greater recognition or is my goal to bring glory to God in order to make Him look better and more understandable to others. Getting “better” in and of itself might have no spiritual meaning whatsoever. Could it be, from God’s perspective, we might just be wasting our time?  I would ask, what does getting better mean to those around me; how will it benefit them and not just myself and bring all glory to God?
    Maybe God has willed for us to be ineffective in one area more than another. How many ways can we stretch ourselves and risk becoming ineffective in all areas? Just askin’.