Sometimes good enough is excellent. Despite what our high school principals would tell us. Even though our leaders espouse magnificence. Even though our leading self-help gurus often say otherwise. There’s a lot of messaging out there about going beyond what’s good…to being great. Outstanding. Par excellence. Blowing the roof off.
All of this is good…except when it isn’t. Except when we look at what others are doing and think that’s what we need to do, too. Good enough is good enough when pursuing excellence would mean pursuing the excellence of others.
Good enough is, in fact, excellent when it means we stop looking at what others are doing and start asking ourselves what it is we can do. It’s excellent when it means we stop looking outside ourselves for the bar with which we measure our successes.
Nobody else walks in your shoes. Nobody else lives your life, has your story, or knows what you know. Nobody else has your combined talents, history, skills and expertise. Nobody else has your particular shine. Don’t be excellent if it means trying to fit yourself into someone else’s definition of the term.
In yoga practice, we talk about ahimsa: non-violence. Also interpreted as compassion, it can encompass seeing ourselves in others, the unity between us all, and operating from a place of understanding and acceptance. Turning that inward means applying these same values to ourselves. How would living from a place of self-compassion look? What role might understanding and acceptance play in the story of your future successes and how you got there?
There’s also the concept of the essential self and the social self—which from the yogic perspective links in with the soul or atman and the ego (the part of us that believes we are separate and defined by our differences). The essential self is the part of us that knows what’s right for us, and makes choices based on that. The social self is the part of us that is concerned about pleasing other people, and makes choices based on that.
Excellence isn’t excellent when it’s based on pleasing other people. And good enough is, in fact, excellent, if it feels totally and completely right for us.
When Good Enough is Good Enough in Yoga Practice
When it means you’ll take the first step, knowing that no matter what the outcome, simply having taken the first step is enough.
When it means you’ll be stop comparing yourself to others and do it in the way that’s most right for you.
When it means you’ll stop ignoring what you need: rest, fun, a break from what’s standard.
When it means you’ll begin something you’d never otherwise had the guts to try.
We need both our soul and our ego, our essential self and our social self—and when we come from a place of ahimsa, we’ve got both sides of ourselves supported and unconditionally loved.
How would that impact your path to success and your yoga practice?