I was never the best at anything growing up. I like to think I was in the top percentile, but I was never number one. But I never really had to try. High School was a joke. I was on the sports teams, I was popular, and I was in accelerated classes. But I never really had to put my maximum effort into anything. My mother always told me that I should “give it my all,” and that “I wasn’t reaching my full potential.” But like any punk 14-18 year-old, I completely blew her off. I was way more interested in figuring out how to take a bra off a girl (it’s like a monkey puzzle back there) and drinking warm Busch Lights that my friends and I stashed in the woods.
College was much of the same story. Sure, there were some late nights were I drank enough coffee and took enough Adderall that would take down an adolescent water buffalo. But I was never truly worried about my classes. The grades still came in the same, I lived in the 85-93 range my entire educational career. I made my parents proud, but never too proud.
Some of peers were going to Harvard, or interning with NASA, or Winning Cross Country National Championships. I followed along closely on Facebook. “Maybe I should try a little harder,” was always a fleeting thought before I would go drink keg Pabst Blue Ribbon at house parties or shell out $1 for shots at the local establishment.
Graduation came quickly- way too quickly. This time last year I was worried about who my fraternity was mixing with. Now I’m sitting at my desk winding down after an arduous Post-Thanksgiving work week. My job is a standard entry-level affair. I answer phones and tackle spread sheets and I do it as well as anyone can. I would say its A- work.
There are no more hot sweaty and crowded house parties. There are no bars with floors so sticky that it feels like you’re walking through quicksand. Like the rest of us, I’m staring down the barrel of 40+ years of work. Maybe this is my realization that I’m not a kid anymore, and I’m just mourning the loss of my youth. I see people succeeding every day and I wonder “why can’t that be me?”
The reason why people succeed is simple. They try harder than the rest of us. While most of us are content to put out a B+ or an A-, they strive to go that extra mile. They work harder and they’re better people for it. It took me well into my 20s to realize that I can’t coast by anymore.
I think it’s time to start some A+ work..
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