I can't recall a single thing that I've been the
best at in my life. Sure, I've won a few contests
and awards here and there, and I've won a few races that
I've been in, but those have come when I've just been
slightly better than the people who also were in the same
situations that I was in, or in the same races. But
I gave up any illusion of being the best at anything long
ago, and now I focus on just being the best that I can be.
I'll never be the best teacher in the world, but I sure
can be effective for my students today, tomorrow, and the
next day. I'll never be the best writer, but I do
keep working at improving my craft and adding new
abilities that might make my work more accessible and more
effective. And with running, I'm only the best that
I can be given my current life--I could be faster or run
farther, but that would require much more training than
I'm willing to give to it. There are other things in
my life that are more important than running, after all.
To me, the most important part of Brown's words is the
idea of accepting that the chances are that we aren't
going to be doing the best of all at much that we
do, if anything. But we also have to accept that our
best is within our reach, and when something deserves the
best that we can put into it, then we have an obligation
to do our best with it, don't we?
That project that we're working on? Our
parenting? Our jobs? Our school work?
Our relationships? Are we giving them our
best? Will it be the best project we can produce
when we're done? If it's an important project, then
it certainly should be. If it's not that important,
then perhaps it doesn't need to be. But we're only
going to improve ourselves, and make sure that our best
constantly improves, by pushing ourselves to do our best
at all that we do, without making the mistake of comparing
it to what others are doing. Our best should be our
best today, tomorrow, and the next day. It's always
within our realm of choice.