Your World – an Inspiration or a Limitation?

It took me 45 minutes to walk to school and another 45 minutes to walk back.

Kicking a ball all the way…each way.

In my brogues. Come rain or sun. No brolly. Don’t be daft. 

My Dad used to take me to see Hibs. I saw them play Juventus in Edinburgh. UEFA Cup. It was 1975 (I had to Google that). It was a Wednesday night and it was lashing with rain.

Hibs lost 2-4. They were comprehensively beaten by an infinitely superior team. And I was happy. My Dad and his friends were happy. Because Hibs played out of their skin against superior opposition and lost with dignity (and put two goals past a great team).

Now I have two wee boys and they love Manchester United. Why not? Closest Premiership Ground to my house. They are probably the most successful English club team in history. So we watched them on Thursday night in their second leg tie against Athletico Bilbao.

They got hammered. As they had in the first leg. And there’s another wee Spanish club who routinely hammer Manchester United as well – Barcelona.

Manchester United are a very, very good team. Yet they get routinely outplayed by other teams who are not in their league (I mean that literally – the teams who outplay Manchester United do not play in the same league as Manchester United).

They play in a different league system, not one that is above, or below the league that United play in. It’s a different system.

Here’s the point –

The people you play with in your team and in the teams you compete with drive your improvement. They will inspire you to learn, try harder and get better. They will pull you up.

But they also place a limit on how good you can be. You will only be a bit better than the second best team/manager/sales guy/ballet dancer you interact with. It’s difficult to move so far ahead that you leave your nearest competition in the dust. Because you simply don’t have to.

The longest blade of grass on the pitch is not three times the length of the average.

Everything reverts to the mean, to the average. If it didn’t we’d have a species comprised of very, very tall people and very, very short people.  

So what does this matter to you?

Simply be aware that your environment and the people in it can change from being an inspiration to being a barrier to improvement. When this happens, you need to find a new environment. Or, at the very least, refresh your current environment with some excellent new people.  

Where in your life are you reverting to the mean?

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