Do you remember a time when you tried to do your very best on an exam or an assignment? What about preparing for a presentation at work? Or planning a meeting or delivering a seminar? What did it feel like? Do you remember how much effort you put in to do your very best? If you did your very best, there is a strong likelihood that you also got the best reward from your efforts. And you were happy with the results.
Best is not the same as perfect. Being perfect carries with it the burden of unnecessary effort that does not reap an equivalent reward. Perfectionism involves setting impossible standards that carry an impossible probability of being achieved. Best, on the other hand, is doing what you are capable of doing to a high standard that you are able to achieve. It means extending beyond average – going beyond good – to do your very best.
Doing your best is not the same as being the best. If your aim is to be the best, you may end up with disappointments and impossibilities that are as difficult to achieve as if you are a perfectionist. Wanting to be the best at something is not a bad goal, but there must be a balance between winning (being the best) and losing (not being the best). For instance, if you enjoy sports, you know that there can only be one team that is labeled the best each season even though all teams try to do their best.
When one is doing their best, they are focused on the present to be as efficient and productive as possible; ensuring that the final product or service is of the highest quality. When you deliver high quality, you are able to take pride in your work because you expended the necessary effort to deliver your best performance, even if you did not qualify to be the best.
Contrast best with good or better. If you deliver a good product or service, knowing that you could have done better, how does this make you feel? There’s that knowledge that you could have done better, right? Whatever you do, if you know you could have done better, then you know you have not delivered your best results. If you haven’t delivered your best results, you also haven’t delivered your most efficient or most productive work, either.
An interesting facet of doing your best at everything is that eventually the lines between your working life and your personal life get blurred. Over time, you start to love what you do, continually expending your best effort in whatever you do. Focusing in the present to do your best lets you free your mind of superfluous thoughts that may impact best performance. If you keep in the present to do your best, there will come a time when you won’t be able to distinguish between work and play because both will be equally
enjoyable. Ultimately, that is the best achievement in life.