Precedent

“One is forced again and again to re-learn the fact that standards set by precedent are based on something less than average performance, and, for that reason, one should not submit to them.”
-Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel

This is my favorite quote from Erwin Rommel.  It actually reminds me a bit of “Ask Not the Sparrow How the Eagle Soars,” in a way, although less self-congratulatory.  Rather than insisting that one is so far beyond normal men and women that one cannot be comprehended, the message is instead to not let oneself be held back by the standards of precedent, but instead, to do what you can do.

As Rommel says, precedent is based on what others have achieved in the past regularly, which is unlikely to represent the pinnacle of achievement.  Don’t let yourself be constrained by such standards, then.  If you submit to mediocrity, how can you achieve greatness?

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