Saturday, 11 June 2011

Doing Your 'Level Best.'

L-R: Me, Dad and my brother.

"Do your best," my Dad told me when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I'm not sure who he had heard that mantra from - his Mum, my Gran? - but he had. Now he was passing on the same advice to me.

But I wasn't really aware of my best as a child. I tried, I really put forward my best effort - okay three works worth of late homework might not have been my best effort at 9 years old - and somehow I never reaped what I sowed.

Then I thought about the 'do your best' advice and it got me thinking. What if you perform at your best but it's not to the standard other's may say is best? And then does that mean that your best is negligible?

This afternoon I caught up on the latest episode of The Apprentice (UK) where one of the candidates exclaimed he had done his best, so he shouldn't be brought back into the boardroom. The truth was that I found that a bit of an excuse - and because this candidate said; "I performed 110%" when there is no such thing as 110% in the first place, so he can't even do basic maths ;) - because it's easy to say you did your best when the standard of what you consider best may be lower than what's expected of you.

A poor man's Donald: Lord Alan Sugar, CEO of Amstrad.

The task on The Apprentice was mainly physical - not a task I could carry out to Lord Sugar's expectations that's for definite - and I imagined what my best would be. Probably making buying tea's and coffees and not a lot else - I have only ever made tea and coffee a handful of times in my life. 

We live in a World where lying is rewarded (unless you're caught), wealth is inherited and singers earn more money than heart surgeons who save lives. So is this our best? 

The standards of best have lowered; the unshaven look is in, the bed head look is in (although you won't catch me complaining about that) and people seem to care less about what they nourish their bodies and souls with. Is this our best?

My best used to be staying up all night completing projects and essays for Uni. These days my best is organising myself enough that I won't have to keep ridiculous hours. My best used to be thinking of every excuse in the book to get me out of getting into trouble; I lost my homework, my brother ripped up my jotter, my tube was delayed. These days my best is simple honesty, no white lies any more. 

What's your best and do you feel it's enough?

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