Tony Robbins’ teachings on this shifted my thinking into my current perspective on this subject. He has commented that “you don’t always get your shoulds, but you always get your musts”…applying this principle to everything from income level to fitness. Most people ‘should’ go to the gym, but the people who actually follow through are the ones who ‘must’. Robbins contends that people try to act in a manner that is consistent with who they believe they are. Identity is a way more potent motivator than a set of vague, arbitrary, insatiable moral compulsions operating under the word “should”. Identity is a compelling purpose. I recently heard the best argument ever concerning laziness, also from Robbins, that, “people aren’t lazy, they just have impotent goals.”
So when it comes to raising your standards, establish compelling goals and purposes, instead of sitting there ‘should-ing’ on yourself. I think you get compelling goals, or at least a higher sense of purpose, by getting fresh perspective. Honestly, from the location at which you stand today, you probably can’t see everything you that could be; your perceived horizon changes based on where you stand. Without perspective, you don’t have a full idea of how good things could be, and probably also how bad things are. Psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson has commented, “You get used to the devil you know”. People live in dysfunctional relationships, or in horribly cluttered, messy houses for many reasons, but that is certainly one of them. It is helpful to experience better places, better people, to talk through issues with a counselor our trusted friend (provided that friend isn’t deeply knit into the personal chaos that you’re trying to overcome). Fresh perspective, which is the road to higher standards, is a matter of witnessing the possibility that you can be and do more in your life.