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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Winning Edge

The other day my co-worker pointed out a concept often overlooked.  Frequently we become discouraged when we exaggerate out of proportion the tasks that lie before us.  Somehow we get caught in the trap of thinking that overwhelming force, perfection, and achievement are required for success.  Such unattainable performance measures make us faint of heart for we know only too well our shortcomings and limitations.  Fear and discouragement can thus paralyze us.  The liberating concept my co-worker introduced is that, as we find in many sports, total domination is not necessary to win.  Success requires only being marginally better than the competition—even just a tiny margin of advantage can be enough to be decisive in determining outcome.  I’m not a biologist, but I think advantageous variation at the margin has been a contributing factor in evolution making it possible for adapting organisms to thrive.  Sometimes minor, even subtle, differences can signal a significant advantage and make all the difference. Therefore, we should take heart.  We don’t need to be supermen achieving the impossible to prevail.  The efforts required of us are not gargantuan.  Rather, very ordinary efforts well within our capacity when persistently applied often suffice to overcome adversity.

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