Think about how many times a day you use the word “good.” “How are you?”… “I’m good.” “How’s the meal?”…”It’s good.” “How are you doing in school?”…”Doing good.” This is the ‘catch-all’ word of our time. “Good.” It covers anything from emotion, to meals, to achievements, to apologies…”It’s all good.” No wonder we describe our lives in this menial way.
When we read the first pages of Genesis, we see a God who is creating and making all kinds of things – and after each endeavor he says…”It’s good.” (Since God is the first being to say this phrase, I am going to assume that it still had more significant meaning than it does today.). He called this good and that good – and after he made Adam he said he was “very good.” Mmmm. That is the first use of this adverb to greater describe the statement made by God. This simply means that the creation of humanity is God’s best achievement to date. While all things are ‘good,’ Adam is the first ‘very good’ creation. This tells us something…that from the very beginning, not only are people different from the rest of creation, we are designed with an inherent goodness in us that is exceptional. In fact the story that follows, is a play on this exceptionality, saying that Adam’s aloneness is “not good.” God then created Eve, a helper, an equal, a partner for him. It is in the connectedness of these 2 that things are at their best. This is the first truly great creation.
In his book, “Good to Great”, Jim Collins says: “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
How remarkable. We have so much good that the aspiration towards great is almost non-existent. We have been satisfied with good, so great is off the table. The energy required to take something from good to great is HUGE. It is probably more energy than taking something from bad to good. Think about it, we even have a statement that goes “that’s good enough.” Maybe the statement should be “the enemy of great is good enough.” Imagine if God has said… “well that’s good enough?” It is almost funny. How many venues in our lives would those words be true (or maybe are true)?
In counseling sessions, I often tell people that life consists of mainly 2 choices. People falsely assume I mean ‘good’ or the adverse ‘bad’ decision. This is not what I mean. I tell them they can make ‘good’ decisions or they can make ‘better’ decisions. What is the difference? Good is built on a minimal approach to contentment – choosing the fastest, shortest road to it. Great requires a bit more, but the potential yield is exponentially more. Think about it. If you went to the doctor, do you want a ‘good enough’ doctor or a great one? In a restaurant do you want to have a good or great experience? Although one is not necessarily bad, the line between an average night and an exceptional one is quite far. Do you want your kids to do just enough in life or would you want them to distinguish themselves? In sports, the losers are often good teams, but the winners are the great ones.
So what is my point? Dare to be great. Stop playing it safe and doing enough to get by – dream big, and push yourself hard to become the best. When we do this – we can achieve greatness. Funny how greatness always has to be ‘achieved.’ The best way I can say it is to describe what a counselor said to me once… “Do all things excellently, not perfectly.” I have found that when we shoot for perfection, but land on excellence, or greatness, then that is enough for me. If I tried my utmost, but still didn’t hit the mark exactly – I’m ok with that. But nothing less. Mediocrity is where we can always backslide to, but greatness is only for the rare few who seek it with all their might.