I can’t lay my head on my pillow at night and feel peace unless I know I’ve given my best. That doesn’t mean I won, or that the project was a success. It just means that I know I gave it my all, even if I failed.
(Part of doing your best is recognizing and welcoming the potential lessons that come from failures.)
It’s taken most of my life to understand what my best is, and it’s still a daily evolution. But now that I know the basics, I have a clear expectation and standard for myself, no matter what is at hand.
What is your best? Obviously it differs for everyone, but there are some general principles at play that apply to everyone.
- Make an excuse as to why you could not finish? (Any will do.)
- Say, “well, that wasn’t on the list”. (Also an excuse.)
- Do the bare minimum, with the primary goal of just checking it off your list?
- Do only what was asked of you?
- Blame someone else for your lack of follow through?
Or, did you…
- Choose to do more than what was asked of you, or more than you initially planned for?
- Assess the situation and think through the variables?
- Care enough to notice the nuances?
- Care enough to act on the things you noticed?
- Care enough to discipline yourself to continue trying even when the task seemed impossible.
- Take notes so you (or the person behind you) can be more efficiently next time?
No one can take “your best” away from you. It’s one of the few things in life you truly have control of.
Problem solvers are people in the habit of give their best, no matter the circumstances. They do more than what is expected (by others, or themselves). The push harder than others. They are ardent strategists. They care. They care so much that they can’t bare to do anything less than give their all.
Your best applies to home life, work, art, relationships and anything else that matters in life.
I’ve found few things in life that provide me with more genuine peace than the simple knowledge that I’ve done my best.