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How to: Be the Best (hint – stop trying!)

June 7, 2010

“Just do the best you can,” my grandparents always said.

It was usually followed by, “…that’s all anyone can ever ask of you” or, “…you can’t do more than that.”

One year ago today I launched into the unknown, did what I never thought I would actually do, and published my first blog post. I just re-read it, and I have to laugh at the circle I’ve traced through the year.

Life can be short. We are judged by what we do, not what we want, hope or plan to do – nor even by what we try to do. What we actually do.

I only managed to start this blog when I actually did it. I spent ages trying to do it, trying to make it ‘the best’ blog I could make it, but it wasn’t until I actually published a post that I succeeded in doing anything at all.

Too often, I’ve put the emphasis on the wrong bit of my grandparent’s advice – I’ve put it squarely on the ‘best’ – and forgotten entirely about the ‘do.’

Before I decided to be a volunteer I spent a long time trying to feel good about my life and the way I was living it. I wasn’t doing anything particularly bad, but I wasn’t doing anything too great either. It wasn’t until I started doing something – actually taking steps toward being the best ‘me’ I can be – that I started to get anywhere.

Recently I’ve been having a harder time of things again. It’s been harder to get up in the mornings, harder to concentrate on things, harder to put in the effort. I’ve found myself getting bogged down trying (and failing) to do things again and it has started to get me down.

The great, wise, Yoda has something to say about this to Luke, when he’s in a similar head-space.

Today, as a sort of ‘new year’ resolution, I am once again going to stop trying and start doing.

I’m not going to try to get up on time, or try to get through my to-do list. I’m not going to try to get a plan in place for the last few weeks of my placement, or try to figure out how to make the work I’ve been doing sustainable after I’ve gone.

I am going to do it. All of it. Because I can, and because I have Help, and because I know it’s only through doing the best I can do that I can ever be the best I can be.

My grandparents were right. That’s all anyone can ever ask of me, it’s all I can ever ask of myself. Do or do not. I am going to do my best.

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