Why even bother to be the best you can be? Is it worth it or just too hard?
Below are five reasons why you should:
1. There is no peace when you don’t
As Emerson so eloquently stated ‘a man is relieved and gay when he has done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace’.
How do you feel when you have given a half hearted effort at something, or when you have done less than what you are capable? Does it bring you peace? Sometimes you can feel satisfied, but if done too often it can leave an uneasy feeling inside. You can be left feeling anxious and wondering what might have been.
We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility. -Albert Einstein
2. To give less is to sacrifice the gift
You have been given the gift of life. You have physical, spiritual and intellectual gifts that are totally unique to you. It is only you that can make them come alive. It is only by giving your best that they can be developed.
Without that commitment those gifts will be sacrificed to a potential that is unknown and the world will miss out on what you have to offer.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman
3. It is inspiring
Think of why we love to watch Olympic athletes. It is because they are the very best in the world at what they do. They are pushing their bodies to their physical limit and giving their all. They love what they do and are passionate about it. It is not a dry logic that drives them but a feeling deep inside. A dream. A desire to win. They are inspired to be the best they can. And we love to watch them because we get some of that feeling too. We can be moved to try a bit harder, and to do a bit more in our life. Because we know that it is in the stretching to be more that we can experience the exhilaration of the game in sport and life.
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life. -Baruch Spinoza
4. Get into the zone – feel the flow
In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s classic work on happiness where he studied great artists, athletes and other professionals, he discovered a peak state that he termed ‘flow’. He describes the experience of joy, creativity, exhilaration and timelessness that occurred to these people in this state. You can experience this state doing any task. It is only necessary to ensure that for your current skill level it is not too easy or you will be bored, and also not too difficult or you will be overwhelmed. By striking the right balance you can be in the ‘flow’ – a feeling of bliss and transcendence where movement becomes effortless. The key to maintaining this state is to continue to raise the difficulty of the task as you get better.
Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. -Oprah Winfrey
5. Avoid fear and the comfort zone
What happens when you don’t push yourself and don’t strive for more? You get comfortable. You get so good at what you do that it becomes easy and you get bored. The challenge is gone. If we repeat this too often it becomes a habit. We can then prefer the safety of the easy and known. And bit by bit we can begin to fear the idea of leaving this place of ease and comfort. Then more fear can set in – we can fear losing, we can fear being embarrassed. So we no longer try. We stop taking risks. We feel unfulfilled being less than we know we are. But we can not help it. We are stuck. We have found ourselves in a rut – a grave with the ends kicked out.
The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become. -Harold Taylor
Make sure you check back for part two in our series of why you should be the best you can be!