Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

September 22, 2010

Why not the best?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Boy, can I remember times when I didn’t do my best!  I could pick many areas of my life where I could have done a better job!  In academics, as an employee, relationships, responsibilities . . . and I could be much more specific . . . but this isn’t confession time!

Yet, I am confessing that I have not always done my best.  Why Not the Best is a book by President Jimmy Carter.  It was much of a theme of his life and political career.  When he graduated from the Naval Academy, he was asked by Admiral Rickover, “Did you do your best?”  Jimmy Carter, as a young Navy officer, replied, “Yes sir.”  But then he pondered for a moment and said, “No sir, I didn’t always do my best.”  Admiral Rickover responded, “Why not?”  This became a challenge to Officer Carter.  “Why not the best?”

For years, I have used this as a challenge also.  It behooves all of us to do our very best at what we attempt.  In these golden years, however, I have realized that perhaps I did not expound on this sufficiently.

Such a statement is not to imply that one is to be the best at everything.  It does not mean that one has to do better than everyone else.  One has to be careful that it does not become a competitive endeavor with every goal and accomplishment set by an individual.

There are some things in my life that I would have loved being the best.    There were certain sports activities that I truly worked hard at in an effort to excel.  I would like to have been the “star” player.  I practiced and practiced at a certain sport — yet, though I wanted to be the best . . . I still had to sit on the bench most of the game!  You see, I had a limit to my ability.  Yet, I still had the obligation to myself to be the best I could be.

There are some things I cannot do.   But, whatever, I attempt I should seek to do my best.  Consider academics.  I might seek to be the best in the class, but I may not ever be able to exceed some other students.  They just seem to excel beyond my ability.  I must not be driven by competition with them, but with a determination that I will do my very best . . . wherever that may land me in the rank of the class.

I believe that one can be so obsessed by being better than another in academics, that they fail to be their best in others areas of life.  As I might seek to be the best in academics, I must not be less than my best in caring for my body, mind, and spirit.

You get the point.  It is a balance.  And that is the real quality of life.  One must not let the goal of “best” be measured by someone else’s ability or expectations people have of us.

Perhaps one can so drive himself at being the best in some areas that it goes beyond the person’s ability.  That will have a consequence.  This is not to be philosophical and try to determine if our potential and our ability are the same.  We must just let the question rest with the fact that we do have certain gifts and abilities.  We must do our best with those, but we must not grieve if we have not obtained the standard we desired.  Our goal in all things must be to just do our best!

God certainly expects our best — but that point of best can vary with individuals.  And God never expects us to go beyond our capabilities.  We need only live up to our potential!  We must not impose on ourselves goals that are beyond us!

I am not sure I explored all my potential and capabilities . . . and I know I have not done my best in what I know I can do.  But am I pleased to know that there are certain things ay which I can never be the best . . . but that does not worry me.  I am only focused on being the best . . . and staying balanced . . . at the things God expects of me.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — which is your spiritual worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:1,2)



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