WHEN IS OUR BEST NOT GOOD ENOUGH? I remember when I was young and would not get a perfect score on a test and was beating myself up. My Mom would ask me a question, “Did you try your hardest, did you do your best?” When I replied , “Yes” she would quickly say something like “That is all that matters, you did great.” This morning, her words came to me after I was reviewing some goals and tasks and I was reminded when I was critical of the results of some of my efforts. That is all that matters, you did great. I decided to make this my focus of the blog as I see others not recognizing the importance of doing your best. Our mind cannot go to “Our best is not good enough.
I thought it might make a good blog for us to do an evaluation of why we would ever come to the conclusion “My best is not good enough” or even observing another’s efforts and saying or thinking, “They are not good enough”. I have assembled a thought provoking question for us to realize when Our Best is Good Enough.
I found this article that asks and answers one of the questions I had composed:
What if my best is never good enough?
That’s my question. What if my best is never good enough?
This is an excellent question! One way to start is by looking at a second question: good enough for whom? We live in what can be a very competitive and status-oriented society, and personal background (family, cultural and political background, ethnicity, nationality, religion) can play a role in structuring our ideas of success and failure. While succeeding in the eyes of others can be rewarding, sometimes it is important to separate other’s metrics from your own.
For example, you might begin to ask yourself “how do I measure my own success in a situation? Are the metrics I am using the best way to evaluate myself?”
Let’s say you have a fitness goal. If your goal is to get in better shape, you might start by translating your goal into a series of actions meant to help you achieve that goal. You might recalibrate your diet to include more fresh produce, limit or eliminate soda or fast food, in addition to committing to a regular workout regimen. You could sign up for a cardio kickboxing class, start training for a road race, or join a local gym or YMCA, or find a local cycling club for some regular physical activity. What if, after six months, you didn’t lose weight but you increased cardiovascular fitness, made some new friends, gained some new skills, and changed your perspective on physical activity? Does this mean that you your best was not good enough? Answering this question in a self-affirming, positive and empowering way might mean recalibrating your metrics or changing what qualities you ascribe to success.
Another way that having an internal measure of success is useful is in a more directly competitive setting. If you are a classical pianist with a major competition coming up, you might prepare for weeks or even months, practicing and rehearsing. If you take first place, that is wonderful. But even if you do not, is there a way that you can see the success in your accomplishment? Perhaps it was enough to have made it as far as you did, perhaps your performance was still noteworthy to many people, and maybe you inspired a younger pianist in the audience to pursue her dream of becoming a concert pianist.
Both of these examples are ways of setting goals for yourself, being flexible, and recognizing success despite unanticipated outcomes.
Finally, many sources suggest that a good way to move beyond a fear of failure is to cultivate more self-acceptance and to keep a log of things you are grateful for. Happier people tend to be more impervious to self-doubt and tend to adopt a more optimistic outlook on their lives. Most of the literature agrees that people can choose to be happier. Make being happy a priority in your life, cultivate feelings of gratitude (maybe by keeping a gratitude jar or journal, where you jot down things that you are thankful for), commit to being forgiving to yourself and to others, cultivate friendships and invest in your friendships (well-meaning friends will often help you stay in a balanced perspective), and engage in activities that require you to give to others, like volunteering in a soup kitchen or doing community service. All these activities have been shown to increase happiness, self-worth, and self-acceptance. By choosing happiness over success as a priority, you might be less vulnerable to a fear of failure.
If you find you’re still struggling with how to best evaluate yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out and seek the support of others. You might ask a friend to help you sort through your feelings about success. Sometimes our friends are more supportive of our efforts than we are to ourselves! You might also consider talking to a mental health professional with an outside perspective.
Just remember, don’t underestimate the value of your own internal measures for success. Being “good enough” can mean whatever you want it to mean. The mind is a powerful tool — a positive attitude and a hearty pat on the back once in a while can go a long way in achieving happiness for life.
Here are some pointers when trying to do our best (which some people think this is a negative statement but I say this is a more conservative approach since there are no guarantees in life but trying is a good thing): Entire article is found at:
When Your Best Isn’t Quite Enough http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/when-your-best-isnt-quite-enough/Lead with love
Several months ago my sister and I had a hard talk. She started it with “I’m not really sure how to say this but I want you to know that I’m concerned about you….” It was a great lead in to what she said next. I knew that more than anything she wasn’t judging or trying to convince me of anything. She was concerned and showed her love to me. It meant a lot and actually got the ball rolling down to where we are today. Was it difficult? Yes. For her and for me. But I appreciated the approach she took and will try to do the same.
This applies to a lot of different things. Specifically in loving someone through a trial, I’m talking about the time that it takes to work through things. There are lots of different emotions through that cycle. Being on the receiving end isn’t always fun but vital. Know that as much as they want for a trial to go away, it sometimes does not. Your patience and understanding with that can majorly help.
Give them what they need
Everyone deals with challenges in their own way. Some want to talk about it a lot. Some want to never talk about it. Some want to hibernate until it’s over. Some do all of the above. (raising hand here) Go with it. Let them take the lead to let you know how to help. Don’t try to make them talk if they don’t want to. Don’t change the subject if they want to talk about it. Just be perceptive and open minded to what type of comfort they are in need of. You can even say “I’m not sure what to do in this situation but I want you to know I’m here for you. Can you tell me what I can do specifically to help?” That will go a LONG way in the person knowing how much you care.
Throughout my life, I have given life my all and when I have not seen the results I expected, I go back to those words my sweet Mom said to me, “That is all that matters; you did great!” Tackle life as you tackle a puzzle, one piece (or day) at a time and at the end of the day when you have given your best remember that is all that matters. You did great!”
Live Life; Love Life; and Live Life to the fullest by loving each minute of Life.
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