As a teen, I recall hearing the motto, “Good, Better, Best; let it never rest until your Good is perfect and your Better is . . . Fantastic!”
It’s a rally call for us to never be content with good enough or the status quo. We must continually strive to be better and never stop seeking improvement.
Recently, my wife and I decided that it was high time to get our furnace ducts cleaned. We had completed various renovations in our home over the last two years, and all that construction dust likes to stick around in furnace vents. We did our research on what company to use, and ultimately decided on one with a good reputation backed by strong customer reviews.
On the day of the cleaning, when I came home from work, my wife said that the guy doing the cleaning knew me. Apparently, he was a CLAC member, and he had also served as a CLAC steward.
I soon had a great reunion with Mark Daamen, who is a Local 63 member and Red Seal electrician. During the downturn in the Alberta economy, work for electricians became quite scarce.
Mark is not someone to sit around, so he quickly went to work for the furnace company, and in the process sought to attain other trade credentials, including his gas-fitting ticket. I learned of his passion not only for the job at hand, but of his desire to continually acquire new skills and seek new challenges.
Soon after my chance encounter with Mark, I learned of another CLAC steward who is not content to just let his Good rest. Willie Hardwig is a Local 63 member and has been a steward for many years. He originally worked as an equipment operator before moving on to the mechanical side of things. Eventually, he attained two Red Seal tickets as a heavy-duty mechanic, one on-road and one off-road.
As if that were not enough, his next adventure was getting his Red Seal as a crane operator. There’s no moss under this man’s feet!
Willie now finds himself working as an apprentice electrician with the end goal of attaining his fourth Red Seal. I have no doubt that he will achieve it.
I’ve always admired people like Mark and Willie. Their drive for continual improvement and betterment not only makes them better tradespeople, but better contributors to society. They increase their employment opportunities while being of greater service to those around them.
It’s been said that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but we now know that is not the case. All of us know people who at some point in life chose to learn a new skill, whether another language, a musical instrument, photography, visual arts, or creative writing. The list is endless. There are also those who midlife or midcareer choose to go back to school to learn a completely new profession.
Life should be a process of lifelong learning. New challenges and new learning not only open new worlds, interests, and opportunities, they are also good for our brains. They expand the brain’s neural plasticity and keep us sharp—and from falling into the trap of mediocrity and discontentment.
No matter how old we are or how stuck we are with our current lot in life, we can all do things to improve. It might simply be learning new and better ways to do the things we do now. It could be as extreme as changing directions completely. A pretty smart person once said, “An object at rest stays at rest; an object in motion stays in motion.”
Inspired by examples like Mark and Willie, I need to remain in motion. That new skill acquisition is right around the corner. Good can never be good enough, so let’s get moving!