Friday, May 30, 2008

Best In The World Or The Best You Can Be?

I’m about half way through reading a great book at the moment: The Masters of Success. It’s a compilation of works from heaps of amazing people like Mark Victor Hansen, Lou Holtz and Brian Tracy. I always say when I read a book, attend a conference or go to a networking event – all I need is that one spark, one gem, one nugget of gold to have made the entire thing worthwhile. I didn’t have to look far in this book - I got my first nugget on page 20 (of 260 odd!).

The nugget was in Erin Brokovitch’s section. She talked about a janitor not striving to be the best janitor in the world – but the best janitor he could be.

I must admit, I’m a pretty competitive person, some would say diabolically so (but usually only when they see me play a board game). I’ve always thought that the aim to be the “best in the world” was a fabulous one! Until I read and then re-read this passage and realised that striving to be the best I could be at whatever I do was a far more practical and important aim for the following reasons:

1. Practically speaking, most people can’t be the best in the world. So why have an aim that will, in the most part, lead to disappointment?
2. Let’s say you can be the best in the world! Striving to be the best you can be will still get you there, and won’t allow you to stop once you’ve achieved it.
3. Even if you substitute “best in my company”, “best in my office” or “best in my circle of friends” for “best in the world” – aiming to be the “best you can be” will still eclipse that if you push yourself and focus.
4. You can still use the accomplishments of others as motivation, as milestones – but we all know when we’ve given an endeavour our all. Celebrate that.

Now that I’ve read this passage by Erin and changed my mindset a little I’m noticing examples everywhere of people striving to be the best they can be – rather than the best there ever was.

On that note, let me take the opportunity to wish my friend Candice all the best in her first marathon, coming up next month! I know the elation she’ll feel when she triumphantly crosses that finish line won’t be shadowed by the fact that it doesn’t come with a first place – because she’ll have rocked that marathon and been the best that she could be.

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