Back in the day, I enjoyed running and competing in races. I ran in races in Texas, North and South Carolina, but that was before my body decided to join the Triple A Club ( Asthma, Allergies, Arthritis). At one of my very favorite races, I had just ran my best time ever and even got 3rd place in my age group. I was so happy and thankful until after I crossed the finish line. I was greeted by an “Out-Of-Shape-Never-Ran-A-Mile” friend of mine who said to me…”I’d be ashamed if I was was you, letting two people finish ahead of you!”In our “Winner takes All” cultural mindset, it inevitably sets us for disappointments and failure. The “all or nothing attitude” can keep us from experiencing real joy and peace in our lives. That toxic attitude is unrealistic and can lead us to be pessimistic and negative about ourselves and everybody and everything around us. There is nothing wrong with wanting and striving to be the best, that should be a goal but not a consistent criteria for everything we do. It is impossible to be the best in everything. There needs to be a balance between the ideal we wish for and the reality of our human limitations.
Tommy Emmanuel, who many people consider to be the best guitarist in the world said this: “People ask me how does it feel to live up to the ‘BEST’ this, or the ‘GREATEST’ that…I never think about stuff like that because I don’t want the burden of being the greatest anything. So I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m the best or worse. What anyone thinks of me is none of my business; my business is to turn up and do my best and that…sets me free. When I do that, hopefully you have a good time.”
REAL Success in life isn’t always “Being the Best” but it is simply “Doing our Best.” Trying to be the best all the time will put unrealistic pressure and expectations on yourself and can actually drain the emotional energy from you and then prevent you from being able to do your best.
By the way, my actual response to that comment after the race that day was I still felt good about what I accomplished there.I even laughed at the comment when it was made, because I knew most of all… that I did my best and that was good enough for me. Don’t be obsessed with being the best in everything you do today, just stay focused on doing your best…one thing at a time.
I have also found it extremely helpful to look to Jesus and not everybody else. May you and I focus on Him today as we run our race today…
“We must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.” -Hebrews 12: 1-2 (CEV)