March 1

It's a funny thing about
life; if you refuse to accept
anything but the best, you
very often get it.

W. Somerset Maugham


Today's Meditation:

I've known people who will accept anything from anybody--they allow people to treat them poorly, they allow people to use them and abuse them, they allow people basically to walk all over them.  When they look for work, they always accept the first thing that comes along, without any thought of trying to find something better that pays well or that provides a more appropriate fit to their skills and abilities.  As a matter of fact, I'm like this in some ways--sometimes I feel lucky to get whatever I receive, and because I feel lucky, I take what I can get. 

I've learned over the years, though, that this isn't a very good way to go through life.  Life offers us all sorts of wonderful things, including relationships, experiences, learning, growing, changing--even material things, though I'm pretty sure that Maugham wasn't talking nearly as much about the latter as he was about other things.  I know, for example, that when I expect very good work from my students, I get very good work from them.  When I won't accept their mediocre work, they do give me better work, and that benefits them, too.

He's not saying that we should buy the most expensive cars or clothes or foods.  On the other hand, we shouldn't settle for the cheapest stuff out there, either--the stuff that's of such poor quality that we wouldn't be able to wear it or wouldn't be able to eat it.  Much of what comes to us in life is a reflection of what we feel we deserve, be that the ways that other people treat us, the clothes that we can afford, or the homes that we live in.  If we truly feel that we don't deserve a nice home, and thus can't afford to live in one, guess what?  Chances are that we'll live in a hovel.

Notice that he doesn't make the claim that we'll always get the best.  That would be unrealistic, of course.  But he is right--when we do expect great things in life, we do start to get great things.  The key is in teaching ourselves how to expect the best, and beginning to believe that we actually do deserve the best--because as amazing children of God, as exceptional human beings who are doing our best in all we do, we most certainly do deserve the best.  The best has a hard time reaching us, though, when we expect the worst.

Questions to consider:

What do you expect out of life?  Does what you get match your expectations?

How can we teach ourselves to expect better things in life?  Does everything have to be the best for us to be happy?

What do you expect of yourself?  The best?

For further thought:

Nurture your mind with great thoughts,
for you will never go any higher than you think.

Benjamin Disraeli


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