An interesting phenomenon occurred recently. I was spending an evening with friends when one of my friend's 13 year old nephew showed up and was asking us dating advice. Another friend teased him saying that he had to bulk up to attract a girl. His response was that he could do between 15-20 push-ups, right here, right now. "Prove it" we all replied in unison. The challenge was on! So he proceeded to drop and deliver. Immediately upon reaching 15, he abruptly stopped and jumped up. I was astonished and remarked how shocked I was that he stopped before exhaustion! I was sure he could have made it to 20 easily. Why not break your record and show us just how many you can do? He just shrugged. This really made an impression on me. Is this a generalization extending throughout our society? Is it global? Doing just enough to get by? I don't get it. And what are the implications down the road?
I remember vividly my brother John and I pushing and challenging each other to our limits; always attempting to prove who had a better memory for memorizing states, capitols, presidents, vice-presidents, who could hold their breath the longest under H2O, who could remember routines we made up, who could remember the codes we assigned to our knock-knock secret conversation we engaged in between our bedroom wall! We made up a game for everything always striving to push ourselves further. It was stimulation, a healthy competition and FUN.
It deeply concerns me when I see young people doing just enough to get by. If the Wright Brothers, Edison, Einstein and others operated like this, where would we be today? What if Rocky gave up???!!! Where are our inventions, innovations and improvements going to originate from? What is causing this attitude to become so pervasive and what can we do about it? I'm afraid it will lead to apathy, hopelessness and helplessness if we don't get a grip on it now.