Time to move the Goal Posts…

I read a number of blogs every day. Some are purely for entertainment and some are for information that I can use. Still others are strictly to make me think … to think differently or look at something in a new way.

Seth Godin’s blog is one of them that often makes me think. For instance, his short blog post “Moving The Line (the power of a zealot)” starts right out of the gate with a concept that few of us think about …

Extremists move the middle.

Compromise is everywhere. Most of us can’t possibly be pure extremists or true fundamentalists, so we draw the line somewhere in the middle.

The point of his article is that the point we choose between two extremes is based, in large part, on how far we feel we are from each extreme and the number of points there are between each end of the continuum between extremes. Most of us are somewhere “in the middle” … but that middle is defined by the extremes and how far toward each extreme that the “zone of what is socially acceptable” goes.

What is Extreme?
How do you define the “extremes” in your life? What is an extremely healthy diet? An extremely unhealthy or immoral diet? What is an extreme workout schedule? What is on the other end of that extreme … and which end are you closer to?


What about your relationship with money? Are you in the top 1% of 1% of the wealthiest people in the world? Do you really know what that kind of wealth means? How familar are you with that end of the financial spectrum? What about the poorest of the poor? Which end do you find more familiar … and, more importantly, what limiting beliefs do you have about those extremes? Could it be that your beliefs about the very rich are keeping you closer to being very poor?

Not Good or Bad… but Choice

I can tell you that there are good people at any extreme, just as there are jerks in the middle. The choice is yours as to which end you are focusing on and how near or far you are from it.

Seth Godin’s article ended with a great couple of paragraphs …

It’s interesting to note that an enormous amount of apparently principled argument goes on about relatively tiny movements in where the line is being drawn. In most cases, to paraphrase an old joke, “we’ve already figured out what
sort of girl you are, now we’re just arguing about the price.” It’s not the principle, in fact, it’s just the degree of compromise we’re comfortable with and content to argue over.

And so it’s left to the zealots. The people at either end have little hope of moving the masses all the way to their end of the argument. Instead, what they do is make it feel safer to change the boundaries, safer to recalibrate the compromise. Over time, as the edges feel more palatable, the masses are more likely to be willing to edge their way closer to one edge or another. Successful zealots don’t argue to win. They argue to move the goalposts and to make it appear sane to do so.

Is it time for you to move the goalposts in your life?

Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comment section of this blog!
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