Why Isn’t Good Enough

A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Wall Street Journal as to why isn’t good, good enough? It was mainly in relation to various world powers but its application seems manyfold. 

It discussed China at the turn of  the 20th century. Things weren’t all bad. More and more people were moving to the cities. Housing and manufacturing were exploding and there was a vibrant trade with the rest of the world. Voila, we now have a middle class. But that was not enough. Chairman Xi decided to make up for all the disgrace and humility for the last 150 years and China would once again be the predominant superpower. 

Interestingly enough Putin is ruing  the dissolution of the motherland. In the early 1990’s USSR became a footnote in history books. That was beyond unacceptable. He became hellbent on having Russia right back up at the top with China and the US. Coincidentally the new Russia wasn’t doing badly either. At least by their standards. Rinse and repeat with Turkey, India et alia..  But in all cases good was not good enough. 

Okay, you say we are sitting here in the catbird seat and can afford to say everything is just fine. Maybe I have no right to offer commentary. I and many of us have it very good. It is easy for you TTG. Your criticism has weight but at least let me try. 

The idea of wants and needs pops up in my little brain. Whether you are poor or rich what do you need to live, survive and maybe have a “treat yourself”  now and then? The latter are needs to be satisfied but you ain’t going to die without them.  An interesting exercise is to see how low can you take your budget in hard times? Kathy and I got to that number back in 2008-2009. A good perspective. 

The crazy part is that it is up to us to define what is enough, whether a resident of the planet or nation state. If we don’t have our fill there is a discomfort  of sorts. That tension eats at us to work harder, save more, or perhaps put more on the credit card which is a whole other source of angina. Does this work out in the end?

The first question of course is this stress inherent in our lives? Is life supposed to be a struggle? I believe it is and dealing with it makes you stronger. If you never face adversity you have no idea how to handle it when our little bubble bursts. We are trying to create the opposite. You should never be hurt physically or emotionally. If you run up a tab in life you never have to pay it. You can always go home to mom or dad. Talk about escaping reality. 

The flip side is going too far off the wall. You are never happy with what you have or accomplish. You are a perfectionist that probably leads to procrastination. Or if you are a Putin or Xi you are unemotional and ruthless to the end. Think of Stalin, Lenin and Hitler. There is no middle ground. 

Realism is a distant concept. Do your talents and resources match your goals? Does our ego get in front of our common sense? We want social and economic equity. What does that mean? Does everyone deserve a four bedroom, three bath colonial in the burbs?Should everyone be entitled to a 6 figure plus income? I don’t think it  works this way. 

Are we there in government? Some dream of government curing every problem imaginable. We have a program for this and that. We always have your back no matter how badly you screw up. And of course we have created a bureaucracy so bloated you have no idea of effectiveness. There are 106 departments of government involved in affordable housing. To me that is beyond good enough. It is a runaway train. 

Think about your personal life. As I get older I find I want less. Not so with younger generations and that is more than understandable. They have dreams and aspirations but are they realistic? The youth of today are questioning  those very values. They were raised by moms and dads who worked their asses off and maybe were not around very much. Is that the way they want to live or even better is this the work ethic they want to pass on? Maybe they are asking how much good is enough? 

This all comes at time when there is a collision of cultures. People and nations are at each other’s throats. My idea of heaven is a lot different than yours.  Scarily that spills over into confusion and debate on morals, common law, gender identification, color, and national heritage. Is there a common good we can aspire to or are we so splintered that United States is just a term and every man or woman for themselves?

We all want to be happy. But understand happiness is a fleeting thing. It is the quick hit you get from a great meal, new car or new piece of furniture. Like every good addiction it wears off and you are looking for a new source of euphoria. There are plenty of dealers willing to provide for your satisfaction. Step right up. 

There is another concept I would like to throw out for your consideration. It is contentment. I looked up a lot of definitions and I like this one the best: “Contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction that can be seen as a mental state drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind. “ No matter what your lot in life you are accepting and embracing it. I could go on for pages but just dwell on that simplicity. For me that is more than good. 

As always 

Ted The Great

If you are a brain surgeon or employed by your local police bomb squad perfectionism is critical. Not so in golf, relationships or cooking. 

Procrastination  is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. You worry about not being good enough and ergo you do nothing. 

When achieving a goal we rarely stop and enjoy it. We are setting new goals at that very moment. 

Good enough, happiness ,contentment, setting unrealistic goals are tough to think about and even harder to write about. I probably didn’t get it right but I hope I got you to think   TTG 

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