So what does always doing your best mean to you?
At a basic level it means what it says – do your best in every situation, always. No matter which culture we grew up in, this is a habit that every adult has tried to instil within us. It is one of the cornerstones to living a good life. And as we turn into adults, we also find ourselves saying this to ourselves and others – whether at home or at work or anywhere in life – always do your best.
If this is such a great habit, then it makes sense for us to dive deeper and examine a few aspects.
What happens when you follow this habit of doing your best? Imagine every situation and moment, you are giving your best or at least in as many as you can. It would be fair to assume then that your life is filled with happiness and peace. But is this what truly happens? Think about it.
Let’s look at a few examples
- You trained very well, with commitment and hard work, and yet you didn’t win the race.
- You studied hard and with dedication, and yet you didn’t top your class.
In situations like the above, the first awareness we need to have is that it is a competition and only one person can come first.
But does this mean your best was not good enough? Will it mean you won’t try again?
Most of us in this situation wouldn’t agree. We’d hear things like, participation is more important than winning, you learn and grow through the experience, you work harder and come back again the next time, you persevere, don’t quit and so on.
Remember, doing your best never goes for a waste. It is a stepping stone for you to grow and expand your experience of life. When we do our best, we give the universe a taste of our commitment and it reciprocates by rewarding us in more ways than we can imagine.
What happens in situations when you are not in a competition, when you are living life each day playing different roles and navigating through what it presents? Doing our best is not restricted to events that have a reward waiting for you at the end.
Let’s look at a few such examples –
The breadwinner of the family, does their best to earn well so they can provide food, shelter, education and a good quality of life to their loved ones. They may feel they are doing their best, but is it necessary that their family feels the same way too? Not really.
The caregiver of the family sacrifices their time to bring up the children and care for those at home. They feel they are doing their best. Ask the family and you may get different answers.
They have different expectations and a different definition of what doing your best means.
In both the above examples, if they feel they did their best – why are they unhappy? It is because they received no appreciation for what they have done. Do you see how you give away your happiness, by waiting for someone to acknowledge what you have done?
The truth is you can’t please everyone. People’s standards of doing your best are different. They have great expectations about what we should and shouldn’t be doing. People judge.
So then, how does it serve you to always do your best?
To understand this better, I love what Don Miguel Ruiz says – Always do your best. Just your best. No more, no less. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will burn out and feel depleted. You cannot sustain this way of doing your best for long.
If you do less than your best, then feelings of guilt, frustration and self judgement will trouble your peace of mind. So no matter what the quality of the situation you are in, do your best and let it go.
This habit will serve you
- When you stop worrying about what people will think of you
- When you take action based on who you are and not who you want to be seen as
- When you do what you need to do, because it feels right in your heart and move on
- And when you realise in the doing is the true joy of receiving the reward – the act of doing your best itself is your source of joy and peace.
Always do your best
When you do your best, you set yourself free and live a light life, each day every day. There is no place for judgement, self sabotage, guilt or regret.
Doing your best however is subjective to so many variables – like how tired or fit you feel, if you are happy or stressed, if you are physically strong or weak – your best will vary from situation to situation, moment to moment.
When you say a yes to what you want to say a no, you don’t do your best. And when you don’t do your best, you deny yourself the chance of being the true you.
Doing your best will also change over time. A great example would be your cycling skills. Your best on day one is not the same as your best on the day when you independently cycle without any support, or without losing balance. It is very fluid as you can see.
Doing your best is not always absolute. It is a moving target, which gives you the opportunity to improve your best, by repetition and practice.
Sidra Jafri says, you only allow for others that which you allow for yourself. This means, when you drop judgement and tell yourself you are doing the best at all times, you will stop judging others and see that they are also doing their best. It will make you see people at their highest at all times. You move yourself out of the judgement lane for good.
Do your best in every area of your life
Finally, it is very important that we do our best in every area of our life with consistency to experience harmonious and light living. Doing your best in one area, at the cost of ignoring another area is a sure shot recipe for disaster. You are here to experience all of life – to live, to love and to be happy.
While serving the family is important, make it a point to take care of your needs.
While excelling in your career is important, make it a point to spend time with loved ones.
You can do this by becoming aware of how much time you spend in each of these areas and making a conscious effort to allocate time for other areas of life too. So you can experience what doing your best feels like, when done in all areas of life.
At the heart of it, doing your best as a way of living can be truly liberating as it sets us free from the clutches of judgement, sabotage, guilt and regret. This frees up your mind to focus on the present in a more fuller way. It gives you an opportunity to feel all of life with a new lightness as your every thought and action are in alignment with your true self.
Take a few moments and begin to note those times in your life, when you overdid your best. Feel the emotions of being in that space. Which parts of your life did you ignore at that point. Now recall those times when you did lesser than your best, note down the emotions that come to your mind.
And listen to this guided meditation to help you bring yourself back in harmony. Click here