Thursday, February 5, 2009


Recently I was introduced to a book on business entitled Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don't by Jim Collins. Now I'm in nowise a business woman (my mind simply doesn't think that way) but I am a concept woman. The things that thrill me are those seemingly invisible gems that cause the mundane to sparkle. The golden hearts, the silver-linings. The first line of Collin's book is one such gem. It reads, "Good is the enemy of great." I've been pondering that line since my eyes first traced its contour on the page. He goes on to write:
We don't have great schools principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.
His words penetrated me and rang out in an agreeing response: how true it is! It made me wonder what sort of life I'm leading. I'd like to think that I'm living a great life, that I'm making every day one that is full to the brim, as full as it possibly could be (sometimes I think I'm too good at that). But I quickly realized that maybe what makes life great is not the grandiose or the constant lists that fill your time. Rather, a great life is one filled with the best of the little things.

What is life? Life is the nice big thing you enter each morning as the alarm goes off, urging your feet to meet the cool carpet for the day and stretch with your hands on the bottom of your back. It is turning on the radio to see if something terrible happened while you were sleeping. You know simply by the sound of their voices, and as soon as you hear that they are calm and nice and boring, you more than usually tune them out and busy yourself with getting ready. Life is stepping outside for the day and recognizing the feeling of sunshine on your hands and face and smelling the grass that your neighbor woke up early to trim. Life is what happens behind your computer screen. But life is more of what happens beyond your screen, it's going by like the wind and if you want you can step out and feel it.

Life is that inborn urgency that calls us to get moving, to reach further, and to let ourselves get caught up and tangled. Because it's only through the process of unraveling ourselves that we really see us clearly. Life is the now, it's the you, it's the me, it's the us. Life can be great if we relish in the simple, and leave behind the muttled, second-rate good.


Leslie said...

Hey Brian has read this book - I loved your insight.

Sarah Orme said...

my favorite line from this book is to get the right people on the right bus in the right seats. For some reason i've never forgotten that. I'm glad you're in my bus of friendship with shotgun!

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