B for Best

Come to think of it: we are quite picky in that we generally always want “the best”. We want to live in the best neighborhoods, wear the best clothes, drive the best vehicles our money can buy, eat at the best places, watch the best movies, and so on. I mean, really, how many times have we said, “Y’know what, this book looks quite average, but I’ll go ahead and read it nevertheless”. Goodness no !! We are so selective that we would rather keep looking until we find the best value for our time or money – and settle for nothing less.

But while we would never settle for second best in what we seek from the world around us, we rarely hold ourselves to the same high standards. Can we truly, honestly, say that we only expect the best from ourselves – and settle for nothing less ? We are quite content to give life our “best shot” and if the results are anything less sterling – in other words, not necessarily the best, we say (indignantly, of course) “well, we tried!”. We – who would not spend our good money buying average clothes or books, truly have no compunctions about not just settling, but being happy with, mediocrity in personal selves.

Why should we not expect – and strive for – the very best in whatever we do ?

It may be that we are simply shying away from the extra effort that is required to go the extra mile. Or that we are afraid of trying, and still not achieving, a desired goal. If we play the blame game, we can find myriad reasons – valid and otherwise. Perhaps it is as deep as our upbringing or the complexity of our circumstances over the years, or as shallow as the weather of the last few days, but these interplays of fate and condition leave us satisfied with where we are even though we know we could do better.

I read a quote recently from a well known businessman that went along the lines of  “hungry people have especially clear minds”. It is true, isn’t it ? More than half a century later, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs hypothesis remains strong and relevant in describing human condition and motivation. Perhaps that is why Steve Jobs in his famous speech at Stanford five years ago exhorted the young graduates to “stay hungry, stay foolish”. We should hope that even as we have the good fortune to not have to worry about food on our plate or a roof over our head, we can keep the clarity of mind to follow our dreams and not settle for anything but the very best of what we can be.

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Posted in A2Z

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