Whenever we make firm resolutions to develop ourselves or achieve our goals, we might have the tendency or be tempted to push ourselves way beyond our limit which is the maximum we are capable of doing or producing around a particular time.
Although it is true that our ambitiousness is a virtue we must use to the maximum or extreme, it is equally true that there is some danger involved in doing things to the extreme and going from one extreme to another.
Therefore, we must be prudent on how we handle or use moderation: if you’ve been struggling to work for one or two hours per day, suddenly forcing yourself to work for sixteen hours per day will likely not end with the desired outcome. In fact, it could end in a breakdown or wear out.
If you’re struggling to restrict your appetite by eating once a day or per two days, then suddenly imposing a 7-day fast on yourself would e stressful and likely not end with the desired outcome.
Find somewhere between the extremes—“the middle way”. Stick to it and work on continuously increasing it over time and when you look back, you will see progress. In fact, based on the results you achieve, you could decide whether to still stretch your maximum, your extreme, or your limit!
As much as it is advisable for everybody to push their limit and explore greater boundaries, we don’t need to put our lives, health, emotions, or environment at risk just because we want to achieve good or great results.
Subjecting yourself to extreme hardships could have some merits, but it may not always bring the desired sustainability we’d like to have over the long term. In fact, it could be downright dangerous to subject ourselves to certain extremes!
Using the extreme approach over the long term could wear you and your life out without allowing you to get close to your goals. In whatever you do, don’t waste time hanging around; at the same time, don’t become busy to such an extent that you’re literally sucking the life out of your own life!
Remember to apply moderation in all things—including moderation itself. And if you need to apply a more extreme approach, do so for a fair or short period of time, and in a way that could be beneficial to your goals.
Now let’s take a look at moderation from a different perspective: whenever people use it as an excuse to not do their best: whenever people make mediocrity out of moderation and deprive themselves of doing or being at their best.
Moderation is key but it can go bad if one forgets that going for little or much less can be a bad thing, and going to the extreme can also be a bad thing. Always remember that you can find somewhere between the extremes—“the middle way”—if you really wish to.
For instance, some moderation would be good if you’re trying to lift a heavy weight that you can barely lift off the floor. But what good does it serve you when you let moderation make you become comfortable with consistently lifting something that’s as light as a feather?
If you really want to work on your muscles, what’s valuable in bragging about lifting something that’s almost weightless? Why make mediocrity out of moderation and allow certain levels of moderation to limit your growth?
Beware of any type of moderation that allows you to stick to easy things that are well within grasp and, by so doing, doesn’t allow you to really grow. Furthermore, beware of any type of moderation that forces you to do something that you can barely do.
Generally, any moderation that lowers your standards could end up covering you with mediocrity: a male athlete who thinks that exercising once a week is great—because most of his friends exercise only once a month—will most likely stop challenging himself and become mediocre because of his misuse of moderation.
Although it can be important to inspire yourself by making comparisons with other people, it may be even more important to compare the state of your present self with that of your past self.
For instance, if today you’re still making the same output you were making a year ago when you started producing something, then perhaps you’ve not used moderation in a good or right way. It may be that you have even substituted moderation with self-congratulation.