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Tip: There are no traffic jams on the “extra mile!”

Tip of the Week
07/15/13

Tip:  There are no traffic jams on the “extra mile!”

As you may have already suspected, one of the major themes for my life and for these Tips is doing more than is expected.  Someone once said that repetition is the mother of learning, and as far as I am concerned, we cannot hear too much about the importance of going the “extra mile.”  Regardless of whether it is at work, school, home or play, doing a little bit more than is expected or required always causes you to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

I had a coach who often said, “Cream always rises to the top.”  What he meant was that if you want to be special, it will not be by running with the rest of the pack; it will be by rising to the top and doing a little bit more in order to stand out from others.

I have heard many wonderful, yet different ways of teaching this concept.  The comedian, Flip Wilson said, “Life is just so daily!”  The routine of dailyness can sometimes lull us into mediocrity, but if we want to excel in any endeavor, it will require us to break free from the regular routine and put forth some extra effort.

What if you were expecting to be served hot dogs for dinner, but were served a steak, baked potato and a nice salad instead?  Wouldn’t you feel better about what you were served and the one who served it to you because it was more than you expected?  I know that is a simple illustration, but I believe that many relationships deteriorate because the parties involved choose only to do what was expected, and in some cases, even less.  I am here to tell you that there is value in doing more for the other person than they anticipate.  It can make all the difference in the world in that relationship!

The road called “the extra mile” is not crowded.  Very few people are willing to do more than is required of them.  And, not only are they not willing to do it, but they don’t want anyone else to do it either for fear that it will show them up and make them look bad.

I am sure you have heard the story of the blue crabs.  Those who fish for crab will always put a lid over a container holding only one crab; otherwise it will claw itself to freedom.  However, when two or more are in the container, there is no need for the lid because if one of the crabs begins to climb out, one of the others will quickly pull him back down.  That is what I am talking about. The second crab doesn’t want the first crab to succeed!

The legendary Vince Lombardi used to tell his players, “Fatigue makes cowards out of us all!”  As a professional football coach, he knew his players were tired, but he pushed them to go that extra mile in order to achieve greatness.  His success in doing that is exhibited in his winning record and the fact that the Super Bowl winner each year is awarded the Lombardi trophy.  His name is synonymous with doing more than is expected!

I have always admired former president, Theodore Roosevelt.  He had a great fervor for life.  I think we have lost a lot of that fervor from our society over the years.  Perhaps it is just the culture in which we now live.  Teddy Roosevelt once commented, “I never won anything without hard labor and the exercise of my best judgment.”  I believe that is the same concept I’ve been talking about, stated in another way.  He was great because he was willing to extend hard labor, take a risk, and chance doing more than was expected.

If you or I live with a “barely-get-by” mentality in anything that we do, we should never be surprised that life fails to interrupt us with a sudden surprise.  On the contrary, when we do more than is expected, life is full of surprises from beginning to end!

I make it a practice to keep a list of my family’s birthdays in my calendar and on my phone.  When I have some down time, I often use it to shop for birthday cards for everyone for the entire year. That way, I am prepared and don’t miss acknowledging someone’s birthday on the appropriate day.  I have often been told that is a thoughtful gesture.  And, perhaps it is.  But, more than that, I believe it is going the extra mile.  Planning ahead to be thoughtful is a trait anyone can learn.  And, believe me, growing up as an only child, I hardly ever thought of anyone but myself!  So, I know for certain that this quality can be developed…even though it is painful and challenging at times.

I hope you will forgive me if it sounds like I am repeating myself, but getting back to the cream…I think you want to rise to the top in everything that you are doing.  I believe you want to be more than average.  I know I do!  Someone once wisely noted that average is just as near the bottom as it is the top.  Let’s be above average!  Let’s go the extra mile and be the cream that rises to the top in everything that we do!

Tip:  There are no traffic jams on the “extra mile!”

Have a great week!  God bless you!

Dr. Robert A. Rohm

Robert Rohm

Top selling author and speaker, Robert Rohm Ph.D. is founder of Personality Insights Inc. and The Robert Rohm Co. As you will see, Dr. Rohm specializes in helping people better understand themselves and others.

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