What You Don’t Deserve


Half a dozen or so.

How much time do we spend striving to get what we deserve? The new widget, the next version of the thing-a-mabob, the first 100,000 users, the A, the raise. Do you deserve those things? Maybe you do, in fact, let’s just say you do. But today, I’m going to ask you for a favor.

Grab your writing surface of choice and make a quick list. For some of you it may not take anytime at all, and for some of you it may take a few minutes, but trust me this will be worth it. Make a list of what you have that you don’t deserve. For me today, it was people:

  • One wife, who loves me more than I deserve.
  • Three children, who look at me in a way I could never deserve.
  • Half a dozen or so good friends, who back me up more than I deserve.
  • Hundreds of amazing loosely connected internet folks whose friendship I’ve done nothing to deserve.

Done? Good, now give thanks for that list. If you’re like me, give thanks to God, if that’s not your deal right now, well just say thank you out loud. Seriously, do it now (if you feel weird, grab your phone, pretend to dial and say thanks to it).

When you’re stressed, and that deadline is looming or you’re not getting the recognition you should or the conversions aren’t happening no matter how many AB tests you conduct or the dinner just burned (again) or whatever thing you’re chasing at the moment continues to elude you, giving thanks for what you don’t deserve will help strengthen you on the path to what you do deserve.

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Thoughts ,

3 Responses to “What You Don’t Deserve”

  1. Pete Shelly says:

    I think you're being overly critical. I think you're being harsh to yourself, and that's fine, because high standards push us to do better, to go after the things we might not deserve. But you need someone who's gonna smack you every once in a while for being hard on yourself. I'm about to smack you.

    I've never met Ruby, but from the way you talk about her, I don't think she's the type to "settle" with someone who doesn't deserve her. I definitely don't think she'd raise a family with you if you weren't someone she thought would raise an amazing family. Go ask her. (Bro, she made you those cookies!)

    You take your kids on manventures and go to their performances. You teach them. They're probably better entrepreneurs than I'll ever be. Kids don't admire their fathers for no reason. It's earned.

    I could keep going, but you don't need that. You can keep thinking you don't deserve these people, and that's fine. They've still got your back. But part two of this post should be called, "Take Time To Pat Yourself On The Back Every Once In A While, Even If It's Only For A Second And Then You Can Return To Your Previously Ridiculously High Standards So You Can Go Out And Conquer The World And Deliver To Those People You Don't Deserve The Very Best." I want to read that one too.

    • namnum says:

      Pete, you're a trip brother :)

      I'm with you on all these things and I appreciate the love, especially from a good friend. I hadn't intended to be harsh (although I am to myself sometimes), but to call to attention to myself and to anybody reading that there are some things beyond the realm of how awesome we are.

      For example, you're right about Ruby, she wouldn't have settled (and lemme tell you back in college, I had some competition). But in a million years I couldn't have orchestrated all the events that conspired to bring us together. It's the gift of having gotten access to that woman in the first place that I couldn't have deserved.

      For me it's always been people at the center of my life, but let me give you a different example. We're both American men, or maybe more to the point, we are not women in a part of the world where women are treated as contemptible objects. That's a huge gift, that we really did nothing to deserve. Gratitude for that gift that can't be paid for (who would you pay) is the feeling I was trying to get to. Make sense?

      BTW I'm totally using that title for a post.

      • Pete Shelly says:

        Absolutely, man. But you'll agree that there's a difference between "I was born under Circumstance X and thank goodness for that" and "This person is in my life."

        You can't control what you're born with, the same way you can't control that someone comes into your life. But the fact that they're *in* your life, not just passing through, is something you played a part in. And chances are, if they're worth it and they stuck around and you're grateful for that, I'm thinkin' it's because of something you offer makes them want to stick around. Thank goodness they dropped in, thank you they stayed.

        I'm with you on being grateful for the things that break the right way even though we don't have any control over them, because if those don't happen, we're nowhere. Those are the things that I think about first thing in the morning and right before I fall asleep (usually it's, "oh man, I'm pretty lucky for X. What would I do without it?!"). In between, though, we should work on ways to take advantage of them, ways that we can use the things that we *can* control to make sure that we're making the most of the things we don't deserve. I don't think you'll be forgetting to do that any time soon.

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