A certain amount of permanent dissatisfaction with one's talents is probably a healthy
thing. Those who are totally satisfied with their work will never reach their potential.
The great pianist, Paderewski, achieved tremendous popularity in America. Yet, said
Paderewski, "There have been a few moments when I have known complete satisfaction,
but only a few. I have rarely been free from the disturbing realization that my playing
might have been better." The world considered Paderewski's playing near perfection,
but he remained unsatisfied and kept constantly at the job of improving his talent.
Bits & Pieces, November, 1989, p. 16.
Complacency is a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the
brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection
of things as they might be. "Good enough" becomes today's watchword and
tomorrow's standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and
abhor the new. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course -- downhill. They
draw false strength from looking back.
Bits & Pieces, May 28, 1992, p. 15.
Several years ago a young Frenchman captured the attention of the world by walking a
tightrope between the towers of New York's World Trade Center (1350 feet high). A few
months later, however, while practicing on a relatively low wire in St. Petersburg,
Florida, he fell 30 feet and was injured. As he lay waiting for help, he reportedly beat
his fist on the ground saying, "I can't believe it! I can't believe it! I never
Ronald Meredith, in his book Hurryin' Big For Little Reasons, describes one
quiet night in early spring: Suddenly out of the night came the sound of wild geese
flying. I ran to the house and breathlessly announced the excitement I felt. What is to
compare with wild geese across the moon? It might have ended there except for the sight of
our tame mallards on the pond. They heard the wild call they had once known. The honking
out of the night sent little arrows of prompting deep into their wild yesterdays. Their
wings fluttered a feeble response. The urge to fly--to take their place in the sky for
which God made them-- was sounding in their feathered breasts, but they never raised from
the water. The matter had been settled long ago. The corn of the barnyard was too
tempting! Now their desire to fly only made them uncomfortable. Temptation is always
enjoyed at the price of losing the capacity for flight.