Don't just raise the ceiling. Raise the floor!

I am the ambitious types. I like to do many things. And I like to do them well. But here is an honest admission, I tend to rest on my laurels quite easily.

Let me explain. A few years ago, I got going on running and fitness. I became very strict with my routine and my diet. I lost 14 kgs. I ran 21km. I felt really good about myself. However, in the next one year, I put 10kg back on. I could not sustain. I could not go to the next level of fitness.

Here is another example, a few years ago I got into creating cartoons. I practised a lot. I got better and getter. I made a very brilliant 2 page cartoon of inspiring travails of Arunima Sinha, the world’s first female amputee to scale the peak of Mt. Everest. I received a lot of appreciation. I felt very good. But then, thats it, the work slowed down. I could not go to the next level of comic creation.

A few days ago I went for run with my super fit 52 year old friend Tukaram Naik. We were running at the Pune race course, which is a 2.2 km track. I had intended to run 3 rounds, which we completed together. Since he was running further, I pushed myself and ran one more. Thats when I started feeling happy with myself and was ready to stop. But that's when my friend told me something that changed my life forever. He said “Lets make 5 rounds the floor. Whenever we come to the race course, we should do minimum 5 rounds. Anything over that is bonus!"

Boom! It hit me. I need to keep raising the floor. I need to keep raising the base level of expectations I have of myself. The mistake I was making was I only kept setting higher targets. Rather, I also need to raise the base level of the efforts that need to put in!