— Gary Ryan Blair
What’s the upside of lowering the bar?
I’m talking about lowering standards…lowering expectations…lowering anything for that matter.
Zip. Zero. Nada. Oogatz.
Yet, everywhere you look…the entire world seems to be playing its own unique variations of the Limbo Dance…HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
The performance, quality, political, educational, entertainment, banking, media, corporate and overall leadership bar is continuously being lowered and the race to the bottom seems to be accelerating.
Check that…it is accelerating.
Racing to the bottom is a socioeconomic phenomenon which occurs when ANY party knowingly lowers standards…cuts corners…lies…cheats and steals…engages in deception…and makes ever increasing concessions and compromises.
In short, it’s blatantly doing the wrong thing(s), for the wrong reasons.
“A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.”
— Muhammad Ali
It’s about time somebody said it…and I’m happy to get up on the soap box and start crowing.
The list of people, places and things playing race to the bottom is too long to permit specific discussion…but saying that they all emanate from short-term, self-interest thinking such as getting elected or reelected…quarterly results…competitive advantage…bonuses or just about anything associated with a short cut or quick fix can dispose of them all.
This dirty, behavioral ring around the collar always leads to adverse consequences that may go unnoticed until it is TOO LATE to change course.
Quite frankly, I’m disgusted by it…especially when most of these decisions are being made by highly educated people who should know better…but who have ALLOWED their character to be corrupted by the seduction of power, control and greed.
Why do I know this?
Three magical words…
Behavior never lies!
The world has shifted into into two distinct camps:
The non-conformed minority who have chosen to race to the top.
They have decided that excellence, quality, freedom, peace of mind, character and integrity are noble ideals worth pursuing and never surrendering.
and… the conformed majority in the relentless race to the bottom.
You must decide then, which camp are you in?
• Are you racing to the TOP or speeding to the bottom?
• Which race are you teaching your kids to be part of?
• Are you proud of performance and the example you set?
How do you know for sure which race YOU are playing?
That’s an easy one…
Look at YOUR behavior.
Behavior never lies!
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Before we focus on the solution, let’s have a look at two very important rules of behavior that are always in play.
The first is…behavior that gets REWARDED gets repeated.
It’s for this reason why you want to set high standards and expectations… establish and enforce strict boundaries…determine what is acceptable and what is not…and then go out of your way to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the virtues you want demonstrated by others.
Unfortunately this is the road less traveled by.
The second rule we must be mindful of is…behavior that gets TOLERATED gets repeated.
This is why we must confront abuse…reprimand intolerable behavior…enforce self-discipline…and take greater control of our lives…or the consequences are real and virtually guaranteed.
So what’s the solution, how do we stop the abuse, how do we empower strength and not tolerate weakness, how do we ensure that we live a life of excellence and make the most of this one life we’ve been given?
The answer is as simple as it is profound…
YOU must raise your standards…elevate your expectations…and step up your overall game by making everything you think, say and do count.
Any time you sincerely want to make a positive change in your life, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. This is a rule without an exception.
You must first expect and demand more from yourself, and only then can you expect and demand more from those around you.
That means having zero tolerance for mediocrity, procrastination, negativity, deception, lack of professionalism, or any form of internal or external abusive behavior that robs you of self-esteem, self-confident, or increased performance.
You either get the importance of this message or you do not.
Send a memo to yourself that you won’t tolerate low standards or any form of internal or external abuse.
Seriously consider confronting and reprimanding anyone who violates those new higher, nobler standards. Especially the person in the mirror.
And if by chance you think that’s too harsh…here’s my promise to you…you’ll continue to get what you tolerate.
Consider this fair warning — what you put up with…you end up with.
Let’s be frank…the temptation and opportunity to cut a corner and sacrifice a clean conscious, while grabbing a few extra bucks or gaining market share will ALWAYS present itself.
So too will the opportunity to do the right thing, set the right example and be a man or woman of integrity.
The race to the top makes more sense to me. The race to the top is focused on respect and dignity and guts and innovation and sustainability and yes, compassion and generosity when it might be easier to be selfish.
It’s also risky, filled with difficult moral and emotional hurdles, and requires patience, sincere effort and mature thinking.
The race to the top is the long-term path with the most desirable outcome.
That’s why I’m calling you out…right here, right now.
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