I have long been an advocate of integrity excellence, a fundamental (but not exclusive) element of which is honesty. The principle of truth, spoken loud. The valued exercise of telling it like it is, even when doing so discloses, as Al Gore would put it, an inconvenient truth.
And the inconvenient truth on Day 66 is this: while I maintain that the Principles of Excellence in the physical and mental spheres always work, I have failed to work the Principles. I have known what to do, but I have failed to do it.
In my defence, the ‘excellence’ I have sought to perform in the competencies I look to possess has resulted in my being appointed a ‘Masters Mentor’ with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, and I look to produce high-quality work on a professional level. I still do my funky thing for all those I seek to serve.
But physically I am a wreck. I am no further forward in terms of weight loss from Day 1. Exercise-wise I have the genuine reason of a knee injury which, as much as I tried to compensate through different approaches to exercise, just got too painful to move. Even walking was challenging. Where I failed most of all was to not adapt my eating habits (a) to lose weight ‘at all’ and (b) to compensate for the inability to work out.
The ultimate weight-loss principle is and always will be ‘eat less, move more’. I started this Challenge by using the ‘move more’ approach and that worked. But when the injury kicked in I did not then apply the ‘eat less’ approach and that has meant, well, failure. There are 34 days left so I can still do something, but I am not going to hit my original target unless Montezuma seeks terrible revenge, and as far as I know I have not offended any Mexican gods.
Of course, as a personal development writer this has to reflect on my reputation – a bit. I occasionally feel like the clown who is sad inside: the clown, promoting laughter and entertainment while forever crying inside. But part of my challenge might be that I eventually face the possibility that I am comparing my situation, and potential, to that of the truly great writers, performers and coaches in this field, and looking to play like Ronaldo while only having the talent of a (insert name of good, non-International football player here).
I am reluctant to settle for less than ‘perfection’. Nobody should do that. But even perfection is subjective, because as soon as it is achieved someone will always come up with an even better version of it. And even if I did approach an ideal version of me, that very approach would inevitably identify an even better ‘better’. That ‘even higher standard’ could be identified because one of the giants in my field found it, even if I didn’t. And then I would think ‘here I go again’.
Anyway, I will carry on moving ever forward, seeking to finally achieve those elusive, higher levels of personal congruence that will enable me to truly walk my talk and be the individual I would dearly love to be.
Perhaps, as I write that last sentence, I realise that I have to ask myself some sobering questions:
“Am I willing to work hard enough to be the man I want to be? Exactly how dearly do I want to be the best ‘me’ I can be? Do I want it enough? And – finally – do I actually have a clear idea of what that best ‘me’ will look like when I finally get to ‘be’ that person?”
I guess we’ll find out. But one thing must apply. I won’t blindly adopt other peoples’ standards and measure the final ’me’ against those. They have their values, beliefs and behaviours and they are not necessarily mine.
The ultimate identifier and judge of my congruence with my values and unifying principles will be – me. Eventually.