This little quote from a Jack’s Winning Words blog from not too long ago, started me thinking about how much better the world would be if we took a hint from the Special Olympics and rewarded everyone who tries their best, even if they don’t “win”.
“If you try the best you can, the best you can is good enough.” (Radiohead)
We have obsessed as a society on the concept of winning and being a winner. In the process, we created the secondary concept of losing and losers. We created a zero-sum game view of the world, in which it is as important to be able to identify those who lost, as it is to give accolades to those who won. We walk around taunting those who did not win by making the letter “L” on our foreheads with our hands. It is sad that we do not take the time to also recognize the effort that the people who did not win put into whatever it is. In the Special Olympics games, every contestant is rewarded with a medal for for trying their best, even if they did not come in first.
Perhaps that also begs the question of why so many, so-called winners seem to require the adulation that comes from being first in order to have some satisfaction and for verification of their efforts. I’ve noticed that those who are more secure and one might say more mature, seem able to find satisfaction and verification within themselves. They are the ones who when interviewed after the race are happy that they may have achieved a personal best. They tried their best and that is good enough for them.
Life doesn’t always work that way, especially in the business world, where trying your best often isn’t good enough to get that promotion or raise. I guess I see that as a management problem. If you have employees trying their best every day and management doesn’t see that as good enough, perhaps they have the employees in the wrong jobs or they’ve hired employees with the wrong skills for the job. Of course that would require that they admit that try their best, they weren’t good enough in their hiring practices and management hates to admit that.
Getting back to the more personal level; you know if you’ve tried your best; and, if you have, that should be something that you find a sense of satisfaction from. If not, then admitting it to yourself should at least provide motivation for a better effort the next time. You really don’t need someone else’s opinion of your effort. After all, how would they know if you had tried your best or not. Perhaps the only other who is in a position to know whether you have tried your best or not is God; if not, you may hear God voice in your own conscious, which is His way of motivating you to always be your best and to give your best effort in life. In the end, God will decide if you tried your best. If you gave life your best effort, that is good enough for God.
Try the best that you can today. God is watching and that will be good enough for Him.