I ran 5 leagues last night. That's quite a bit for a Tuesday evening. Yet in my mind, I was concerned how slow it was and how tired I was at the end. I've ran or bicycled four races this summer, getting second three times and winning one. It is easy for me to rationalize away my success as "there was no one there" or "it was a really small race". Yet the fact remains that against four different groups of people I have not gotten lower than second yet.
There is a certain mental seriousness, setting the bar high, that keeps me driving and pushing to ever higher standards. I talk mostly about running because it's clear and obvious and I'm not bound by any confidentiality agreements, but the concept applies to my engineering and other areas of my life too. I feel predisposed to not be satisfied with what "I" have achieved. I say I in quotes because I know that it is not me, it is a team effort, many people, over years and decades that have gone into what my body and mind achieve.
The results and the training this summer may be small potatoes, but that is no reason not to be thankful for those potatoes anyway. Sometimes small potatoes are sweet potatoes. I like big goals. I am used to failure, because success is so much sweeter than failure, if failure is a requirement, I can accept that. Yet sometimes we all could stand to look around and really appreciate how wonderful we have it. Let's not take this for granted.