The 365 Commitment

The Right Amount of Crazy

So there is this fine line between doing something that other people think are crazy and actually being crazy. Not sure where the line is at, but I will say that I think it is important to push the limit enough to where people start calling you crazy, but not so far that you actually become crazy. Where is the line? How do you judge?

For example, you could become a body builder. Lifting weights on a regular schedule. This would be healthy activity, and if you push it hard enough people will call you crazy. If for example, you chose to compete in one of these USPA power lifting competitions in an entry level category – people might start to call you crazy. However, if you find yourself spraying yourself down with oil, just to run around the neighborhood without a shirt on – well I think you are actually crazy. You see the line is difficult to distinguish.

This could apply to many things in life. If you hang out with friends and drink to much one night, and have a little too much “fun” and have to sleep in your car in fear of driving home – that might be called crazy, in a joking way. However, if you are sneaking bottles of whiskey into your work so that you can take the edge off the morning workload – well – that is crazy. You have a problem. The line has been crossed.

When we talk to others and discover they are doing something that we would not do, we throw this phrase around – wow, that is crazy. Do we stop and think about what we are saying? Just because we would not do it, does it make it actually crazy?

I think it is a good thing for people to set goals and to use important accomplishments to help motivate themselves to achieve better, stay on track and lead a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps instead of calling them crazy, maybe we should say, wow that seems like a very difficult thing to accomplish, however, I think if you keep on the path you are then you will get there. I mean why would we want to discourage people from shooting for the stars?

Difficult to say. Your daughter comes to you and says, I want to be a movie star. So I am going to study hard, work hard in performing arts and get a degree from a prestigious performing arts school. Would you want to discourage that, even though you think it is unlikely she will actually become a movie star? No, I do not think you would because in this case the plan is thought through and reasonable for what she is trying to accomplish, and even if she fails, she is on a good career trajectory. However, if you daughter says, I want to be a movie star so I am going to go live in a tent in Hollywood and try to pick up odd jobs until I get discovered. Well, she might be delusional – crazy might be the word to use in that case.

The line, it seems, is delineated by the clarity of the path. If someone gives you a crazy goal, do not judge immediately. Ask them about their path to get there. They will most likely love to talk about it. You can then judge if they have wandered into crazy. Usually, it is quite clear when a reasonable path has been thought through. Do not judge until you know. I have a sales person that told me once that he was going to be the highest producing person on my team. If you knew this kid, you would have thought – crazy town! However, when asked directly what his plan was, he articulated a course of action that sounded quite reasonable. He is not the highest performing on the team, does not even work for me any more, but he is successful now. He did not get to the level he thought, in the time frame he concieved, but he did make good progress.

If someone has a crazy goal, but a reasonable path to attempt it, then why would we discourage them? Lets reserve our precious judgement for truly crazy people, with crazy intent and absolutely no reasonable plan to achieve their crazy ambitions!

Oh, and while I am on the subject, what crazy thing are you trying to achieve?

Guy Reams

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