Saturday, July 5, 2014

Doing Your Best May Not Be Good Enough

Now that the dust has settled after the Commonwealth Games ( a meet involving a select group of countries) and the athletes are heading off to bigger things, I hope we'll be spared from hearing the term 'PB' (as in, Personal Best). It's usually used by athletes who have failed to win their event and, therefore, account for their performance by stating that they did a PB. And the lounge-chair experts seem to accept that, at least, the athlete tried his or her best. We confuse doing one's best and doing what's required to gain the desired result. And there can be a difference. Our aim, surely, should be to do what's required.Despite what we're told by parents, teachers, and coaches, doing your best may not be good enough.We love quoting the late and great Vince Lombardi: 'Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.' But we're prepared to accept a cop-out, as long as it's a PB.The desire to live a longer, better life also applies here. We know that the 5Fs - Food, Fitness, Friendships, Future, and Finances - are the way to adding years to life and life to years. And doing one's best to eat the right foods or getting one's finances in order might be admirable, but those attempts may not deliver the desired results. We must do what's necessary - eat the right foods in the right quantity, and so on. I might be doing my best to exercise daily, but if I'm not doing it, surely I can't count my non-participation as acceptable? The right kind of action is essential.

'Doing your best', has become cliche. So, when our time arrives, saying we've done our best to live a long and healthy life can sound OK. What we need to be able to say, however, is that I did what was required that enabled me to live longer, better.There may not be a great (or any) difference between doing your best and doing what's necessary. Usain Bolt does what's necessary to win his heats: it's usually in the finals that he extends himself - performs his best, even. Focus on doing what's necessary and the results will take care of themselves.

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