Your Standards Are Making You Miserable

“What does it mean by being a Christian?” I asked him.

He hesitated.

One of my bandmates tried to answer with bomb-carpeting definitions.

Dissatisfied, I asked again,¬†“No. I mean what’s the simplest definition of being a Christian?”

He hesitated, “It means follower of Christ.”

“So what’s wrong if we just let our audience decide whether or not we’re a Christian band?”

“No Jade. You don’t understand. There’s a standard for being a Christian band.”

My mind says, bullshit.


“There should be no long sentences. Don’t use simple English.”

Those were some of the writing rules my supervisor implemented.

I did follow it though (occasionally). If that’s what the clients prefer, so be it.

What bothered me was that, every time he edits articles with long sentences and simple English, he was pissed off. It ruined his day.

But seriously, nothing’s wrong with an article with short sentences and long sentences. A prose with the same length of sentences is boring to read.

And by the way, nothing’s wrong either with easy-to-understand words. Writers shouldn’t confuse their readers. Right?

But he’s not happy with it.


He wanted to be a motivational speaker/writer.

I was delighted to hear it.

I asked him, “So why aren’t you doing it?”

He told me he wanted more experience because motivational speakers/writers are experienced individuals. If you have a lot of experience, you can easily relate to people.

I agree of course. Maybe that’s the right thing.

Or maybe he didn’t truly know why he wanted to be a motivational speaker/writer. Because if we really want to motivate people… do we really need a title or more experience to do it?

All we need to do is be an inspiration to others (become an example), or share a relatable story, or make others realize how short life is. Even casual conversations will do if we really want to help. We can always do it in our own little ways, with or without experience (the truth is everyone has their unique experiences).

But I didn’t say anything to him.

I didn’t know what to say back then.


An important thing to remember:

Nothing’s wrong with setting high standards in our life, or in our creative works, or in any career we aspire to pursue.

Setting high standards can, in fact, propel us to do a better job, accomplish what we truly want, and become masters of our craft.

Being fixated on it for a very long time, however, can be dangerous.

We should be aware that “standards” are subjective. Even if we’re certain we’re on the right track, it’s possible that we’re misguided, or worse blinded.

That’s why it’s always helpful to find different perspectives — it helps us become aware of our flawed worldview.

Yes I know you’ve read articles about the advantages of raising our standards for success. I agree with some points. Again, nothing’s wrong with it.

My point is that, there are cases where our standards are making us miserable, but we’re not aware of it. We think it’s the right thing, or just the way it is without even considering other possibilities. In this case, we are blinded by our glittering standards.

Ask yourself: “Are my standards in life propelling me to success, or making me miserable?”

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Jade Panugan

Some interesting questions about life and human behavior: What if there's no money? Why we often feel the urge to prove that we're right and others are wrong? Why we react to things beyond our control? Why we hate? Why it's hard to be content? I don't have all the answers, do you? Let's chat.