The Cost Of High Standards
This is a not-so-glamorous part of self improvement. It’s a reality that many of us face on our own self-growth journey, and hopefully giving a voice to it will help you find a way to better manage it in your life.
There’s a cost to having high standards for your life. There’s a consequence to leveling up and evolving your life. Your previous self was created by previous environments that were designed to keep you there, so as you grow beyond those limits they will resist you and try to pull you back in.
This is most contentious when it comes to the people you spend time with. It’s very likely that those people are at your old level. They’re in less healthy habits and they are not acting as much on their ambition. As you grow past your previous level you create an inner-tension for some of those people. Either they are inspired to improve with you, or more often they protect themselves by trying to pull you back down. It’s a normal human reaction, and when you start increasing your standards, you initiate this conflict.
That’s one of the costs. Your old relationships won’t be the same. This might mean that some friendships won’t last because the core compatibility has been lost. This is sad to think about, but that’s life. People are meant to play a very specific role in your life and sometimes that time has already passed.
But alongside the external factors and resistance there’s a similar internal resistance we experience. Many people are afraid to set high standards for themselves. Part of it is you don’t want to carry the guilt of making other people feel worse about themselves, but the other part is that at your core you might not believe that you’re worthy of more. In fact you likely won’t because your belief system was fine-tuned to meet you at your previous level.
This is where self-sabotaging habits come in - Limiting beliefs, procrastination, irrational thinking, and other culprits of the mind that keep you from thinking differently or taking new forms of action. Overcoming these things comes at another cost - Your comfort. Raising your standards makes your life more challenging, exposing you to new problems and forcing you to calibrate to new levels. Many people shy away from it because they fear that they’ll just disappoint themselves and they’d prefer to be comfortable thinking about their potential rather than seeing what it actually is.
When I made this shift for myself, it was profound, and I want the same for you. So ask yourself this question - In what area of your life do you know that you’re leaving something on the table?
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