Twice this week I've heard the dreaded words - "That was really good."
Why dreaded? When it sounds like praise?
Because my mind always thinks -
If it was only good... then it wasn't good enough.
Admittedly, one occasion was talking to myself, when thinking about some of my teaching for the excellent Swanwick Writers' Summer School next month.
The other came in feedback from an inspiration and careers event I did at Huish Episcopi Academy in Somerset.
In both I knew I'd done a good job. But that's the problem, and always has been.
For me, good just isn't good enough.
And you know what? That used to frustrate me. But now I'm very glad about it.
Because I've noticed something fascinating in life.
The good guys and gals, the ones who always do their best, and always do it very well, the ones you love working with, have an endearing trait -
Everything they do, they come away saying - "That could have been better." No matter how damn well they did.
Whereas the ones who are much less competent / talented / diligent / pleasant tend to say - "Well, that was good."
(Often accompanied by the killer line - If I do say so myself.)
So here comes a strange and rather twisted, but still amusing (for me, at least) summary -
Good for the bad = bad.
Bad for the good = good.
Which always leaves the good ones striving for even better. Which is one of the things we love about them.
So I'm off now to rewrite my Swanwick course, and future inspiration and careers talks, and I know I shall do it time and time and time again...
And I'm very glad about that.