It was several years ago when I used to race stock cars on Saturday night at the local track in the area where I still live. Now, I have to admit, it was quite a while ago, but, I still remember it as though it was yesterday. A good friend of mine, Peter M, who was also a racer, put little sign on the dashboard of his stock car, saying, “Good as any and better than many.” I thought it was a great thought and, I guess, since I still remember it, you could say it was indelibly stamped on my mind. That’s the way it is with some things — they’re just unforgettable. Another interesting thing about the saying is it applies to more than racing. (Oh, I guess you knew that already, huh?)
I remember when I was racing, there were people that just wanted to show up and be seen on the track in their cars with people that raced and won. They didn’t have the desire to do well and probably lacked the money to run at the front. It seemed as though they were content to just show up and say they were racers so they could possibly be thought of as important or special people simply because they ran with “the big dogs”. The truth be told, they were the people we were lapping every few laps and, in a twenty lap race, they would finish as many as six laps down. To me, that’s not racing. That’s just driving around in a circle, getting in the way of those that are trying to win the race or accomplish something other than just showing up and being heard or seen.
When I could afford to do it, I loved racing. I still do and would still race if it were more affordable to run competitively (and I do stress the word, ‘competitively’). You see, I just don’t like to go and try to run second or worse in a race. I want to be at the front, fighting for the lead. I want to have the opportunity to finish first. I want to win!! I don’t want to just be seen on the track running with the others, I want to be leading the race and taking the checkered flag, if possible.
Yeah, that pretty much seals the deal on my competitive nature when it comes to racing. To tell the truth, that pretty much seals the deal when it comes to podcasting and other things I do, too.
I have a tendency to take what I am interested in, and do, very seriously. Now honestly, I try not to take myself too seriously, but, I want to do the best I can at whatever I put my hand to do. You see, I feel that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well and it is worth taking the time it takes to do it right. To me there is no reason to do something if a person can’t put their heart and soul into it and do it well. It just seems like such a waste to me. I mean, why would anyone want to take their most precious commodity –their time –and spend it on something important to them, and yet do it half-heartedly?
That’s why I believe it is so important to get started right and to take the talent and equipment you have to work with and use it to turn out, or make, the absolute best possible product you can. Otherwise, why waste your time and the time of others?If you are always trying to do your best, sooner or later, your best will come out.
Does that mean that everything I turn out is flawless and mistake free? No, but when it does happen, I learn from it and try not to let it happen again. I have made recordings and never heard the mistakes until it is too late to do anything about it. Once I put it out on the net and it is there for a while before I notice it, I leave it out there in that form for a while because I figure many people have already heard it and formed their opinion, but, it will definitely bother me until I fix it.
I fervently believe in the addage, “Strive for excellence, not perfection.” Striving for excellence will inevitably allow you to turn out a great product. Striving for perfection could absolutely drive you crazy. I have noticed many don’t recognize, or at least they find it easier to overlook, certain mistakes if everything else is done right, (or, at least, the mistakes don’t seem to stand out quite so much.) If I notice an overlooked mistake of my own or someone else’s, I have to admit it bothers me every time I listen to it. To some, it won’t make any difference. To others, it will constantly stand out to them and I am sure they will form an opinion of my work (or your’s) based on that imperfection. Unfortunately, I cannot blame them because I feel the same way, also. I guess that’s the price I have to pay for being put together the way I am, and, if I expect it of others, I should expect it of myself. (Remember, we are talking about striving for excellence, not attaining perfection.)
So, how do you feel about your podcast or production? Is it something you work at to make better all the time, or, is it something you just throw together time after time and hope that people will be impressed by the fact that you show up with the rest of them? I hope it’s more than that. I hope you are doing everything you can to make it, “Good as any and better than many.”
See ya next time . . .