Yesterday, a young man came to my office and apologized for the unacceptable way he treated me recently. He recognized his lapse in good judgment, offered no excuses (e.g. well, I did it because you did this…), and accepted full responsibility for his behavior. There was no mistaking his sincerity.
I was very proud of him; however, I must admit I was surprised.
In my 12 years of teaching, I have to tell you honestly that I witness poor behavior in every class I teach. But in all those years, only a handful of students have had the strength of character to do what this young man did.
I was glad to have the opportunity to tell him that I think he has unlimited potential. Even after his instance of poor behavior, I continued to believe that he had that rare combination of intelligence, charisma, and drive that would enable him to accomplish anything he puts his mind to.
Equally rare is the ability to recognize there is a gap between where you currently are and where you need to be. Most of us avoid living with the discomfort of that gap by refusing to tell ourselves the truth about our current condition.
It’s simply easier and safer to compare ourselves to others and think that we are doing just fine.