Your grandparents referred to it as being the cream of the crop, but you may be more familiar with colloquial terms like “best of the best” or “top of the class”. What does it mean to grow yourself into that classification? We all know that cream rises to the top in whole milk, but if you’re a city dweller, you may not know that not all milk produces the same amount of cream. Milk from a Jersey produces richer and more abundant cream than milk from a Holstein. A Jersey’s cream is a deeper yellow and so thick that it may be immediately whipped into a luscious concoction. It might leave you thinking that being the cream of the crop is an inherited sort of thing.
Let’s correct that misconception. No one is born the cream of the crop or head of the class. Nothing is more cliché than an uber-talented person working below his/her potential. Genius bums who proved unable to translate intelligence or aptitude into productivity reside everywhere. You! You are endowed with the potential to elevate your own current level of achievement and become that exalted 1% who is prized by employers everywhere. We enjoy the benefit of being more than just the product of our DNA sequencing. We are not limited to current levels of productivity. You and I may become that right person, the cream of the crop.
How do you do that? Right now is a good time to learn and put to use these tips. What else do you have to do? Many of us are experiencing a little more down time than usual, and rather than slipping into a self-indulgent trance of slothfulness, employ your mind to increase your value.
- Develop a reading list.
- Take notes on the best ideas and write down the most inspiring quotes.
- Pick a topic and research it online. Add to your reading list.
- Develop a new skill set.
- Practice your craft. If designing displays is a part of your work, research displays, tools for displays, and print out pictures of displays you like to inspire you when things return to normal.
- Set some actionable goals for June, July and August.
James Clear delineated these additional tips for self-improvement. His reading list contains titles available online and is an exhaustive source of references. One of his main points is to be painstakingly honest with yourself. Mentally assess yourself in the mind’s eye of glaring fluorescent light to uncover lacks or unused potential. This step alone sets the cream of the crop apart from their mediocre colleagues. Whether you’re competitive or not, you cannot exceed your baseline if you don’t know your starting position. It’s not about asking someone else for an evaluation. It’s about you taking stock and improving yourself for yourself.
Becoming the best of the best is a mindset. It requires setting parameters for excellence, penning goals you may not meet but may lean into, striving for consistently better performance. For some of us, our current job may not be the career we dreamed of as a child, but that doesn’t change the fact that if we aren’t striving for perfection now, in this phase of life, we are developing self-perpetuating habits that will plague us for years to come. For some of us, our current job is just what we need and enjoy. Becoming more productive, more creative, more valuable benefits our company and the rewards each employee may enjoy.