Everything that's too is too...

Joan F. Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California

One of my grandmothers used to say it all the time: "Everything that's too is too." After analyzing this statement, I concluded that what she may have meant was, that you just cannot win at either side of exaggeration.

Just consider this for a moment:

  • If you're too clean, your friends may feel uncomfortable in your presence, due to your obvious angst for anything out of line.
  • If you're too laid back (some will call it: "dirty"), on the other hand, they may not even dare to accept a glass of water from your tap.

  • If you're too impatient, good opportunities may pass you by, because you are too aggressive to wait.
  • If you're too patient, though, everybody may take you for granted and not even care about you waiting!

  • If you're too hardworking, your housemates may feel pressured by your hurry, because there never seems to be a moment of relaxation possible.
  • If you're too easy-going, however, you may never reach anything significant, because you don't care to go for it all the way.

  • If you're too good, people will not trust you, because they'll think you're a fake.
  • If you're too bad, they will consider you unpleasant company, and stay out of your way.

  • If you're too serious, people will think you're a bore and not much fun.
  • But if you're too funny, no one will take you serious or even consider your opinion worthwhile when something important needs to be discussed.

    This raises the question: how do you know when and if you have reached an acceptable equilibrium? That's hard to define! It may depend on circumstances that are intertwined with cultural, environmental, and personality issues.

    The closest that I could come to a generally acceptable solution is this: Although you should not entirely focus on what the world thinks of you, you should at least reflect on remarks of friends, colleagues, and family members. If they repeatedly tell you something disturbing about yourself, it may be time to review - and if you consider it necessary: adjust - the criticized habit.

    Just don't try to please everybody, because that will cause you to end up confused. We all have a tendency to lean toward one extremity or another and usually don't see anything wrong with that, especially if we have managed to achieve the life-goals we focused on that way. And guess what: The older we are when confronted with our personal "too's" the less likely will we care to change them. And who shall say that there's something wrong with that? After all, we DID come this far, right?

    In conclusion, I guess we all know darned well what our "too's" are. No one needs to spell that out for us. It's our "too's" - no matter how aggravating sometimes for others - that make us who we are, and that distinct us from the rest of the crowd. How fortunate!

    Imagine what the alternative would be: a world full of moderated, well-balanced people. Wouldn't that be too boring? So maybe we should raise our spirits by simply accepting our too's as long as they don't become a nuisance to ourselves. We could justify this acceptance by bearing in mind that the foundation of mediocrity is moderation. THAT is definitely something we don't want to have too much of!