Professionally, I was “brought up” on Brian Tracy’s work ethics. By “work ethics” I mean – giving my utmost at work. Striving to be the best, to reach for the best. Placing standards high enough, that I have to overcome my present limitations (as I see them) in order to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.
Forced workaholism? Not necessarily.
Still, it does make me think, when I come across such a quote:
“You must always work not just within but below your means If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only five. In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve.” – Pablo Picasso
This seems to be closer to Machiavelli’s fox than the lion, if you ask me 🙂
“A prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the fox and the lion, for the lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”
A bit of calculation? To some extent this is a reminder to manage one’s energy wisely and not get sidetracked into minor issues.
Another potential downside of high standards is that we are prone to impose them on others. As long as those “others” are able to sustain them, learn from it and develop – great. But that’s not always the case. Occasionally, you might be the spoilsport.