July 2, 2009

You're not done yet

In a previous post, I wrote about resting on your laurels, that thing people do when they feel they've reached the pinnacle of success and decide they no longer have to make an effort.

That post was about Michael Phelps, a phenomenal swimmer who, after breaking several US and world records and winning seven medals at the 2004 Olympics, went on to win all of his events in the Olympic trials and break additional world records. Of course, you all know what happened next.

Here's another Michael who was never content to rest on his laurels. From an interview with Geraldo Rivera in 2005:

Geraldo Rivera:
Do you ever look back and contemplate, oh my goodness, Thriller is the biggest selling musical performance ever? Do you ever get your arms around that?

Michael Jackson: I think about it, sometimes. But I try not to think about it too hard. Because I don’t want my subconscious mind to think I’ve done it all. "You’re done now." There's so much. That’s why I don’t put awards or trophies in my house. You won’t find a gold record anywhere in my house. Because it makes you feel accomplished. "Look what I’ve done." But I always want to feel, no I haven’t done it yet.

Keep working, keep striving, keep stretching! Why quit while you're ahead? You can always do more and do it better.

Image: Agence France-Presse/Newseum

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Michael Cortes said...

An old Marine buddy of mine, now age 42 still the picture of health. With his v shaped torso, sculpted muscles, and roman features... he looks like a audition picture for a Superman movie. But I happen to know he still sees a scrawny high school boy in the middle of a small Illinois town when he looks in the mirror.

I've always thought that while others see him and see his physical accomplishments, it's his own view and attitude of "not good enough", "not done yet" which has kept him where he is at. Imagine if he sat back and admired his accomplishments. He might enjoy the sitting back too much.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

It's a delicate balance, isn't it? Enjoying and accepting our accomplishments without letting them stop us from moving forward.

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