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.
Still reading your blog. I like this one a lot.
Thanks so much Jonathan!
Serious truth here, Jared. And I know for a fact that what you say here is true…you do always try to do your best and I know it is because you CARE. Another theme that is close to your heart. I printed this off and am sending it to Toney in prison…..He will be thrilled to hear your words and I pray he takes them to heart. love you, Mom
Thanks mom. This is certainly something I got from you and Dad. I always reference back to the days of BMX racing. It was our life. It was part of our identity. I ate, slept and breathed BMX. It was our passion. And we were always at the top. BUT…it wasn’t because you guys forced us to train daily (we did that on our own accord) or because you told us we had to win or anything like that. You taught us to do our best, no matter how hard it was. And that it didn’t matter if we won or lost, as long as we gave it all we had. And I believe that’s why we were all so often at the #1 position. It wasn’t about winning. It was about doing our best. Consequently, we usually won. Thank you for that!