Can you remember when your kids were young, and you were at one of their first games? The early morning sun is just warming the field, and the smell of fresh-cut grass permeates the air. Kids are running around everywhere, laughing and playing, waiting for the game to start.
But your child isn’t.
You are kneeling down gently comforting your quietly crying child. They are afraid. Afraid they will mess up, afraid to embarrass themselves in front of people, afraid to disappoint you.
You softly brush a tear off of their cheek, marveling at how such a little body can contain so much emotion. You pull them into your arms for a quick hug and whisper to them, “Do your best, always do your best, and you will never disappoint me.”
Why have we forgotten the advice we gave our children?
When such a small, simple statement was enough to stop their crying and get them out on the field, why did we give up believing in the advice that can motivate us through anything? Read on to rediscover how the agreement, always do your best can help you reignite your passion for living every day of your life.
In an earlier article, What Are The Four Agreements Of Life? Ideals That Will Make You Better, in our Catalyst for Change series I wrote a review of the book The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz.
I thought that each agreement was so good that it required a more in-depth review of each one.
The Four Agreements Are:
- Be Impeccable With Your Word
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always do your best
In this last article I will be covering number four, always do your best. Read on to find out how always doing your best coupled with the other three agreements can lead to lasting personal happiness.
Like your child on the field, sometimes we just feel stuck and intimidated by life. If you are lucky like I am, you will have a spouse that, while not always willing to hug you, will definitely kick your ass when you need it. To push you on and essentially say, just do your best.
We tend to forget when we get older that the most uncomplicated advice is sometimes the best. Always do your best. It can’t get much simpler than that.
Does this mean that every day when we get up in life, we are always going to win because we tried our best? Not exactly, as Ruiz says:
Under any circumstances, always do your best, no more, and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good.
Always trying your best means precisely that. Whatever you are doing, give it all that you have at that moment.
It doesn’t mean that you are going to always get that raise or promotion at work. Or at the end of the day, you are not going to feel like you had the hell beat out of you by life.
All that always do your best means is, at the end of your day you can look yourself in the mirror and know you did the best you could at any given moment of your day.
Tomorrow will be better
Just think of doing your best as if you were starting to lift weights.
You’ve bought the work out gear, looking all badass in your Under Armour. You’ve eaten a good breakfast; you drove to the gym and now, time to show these wimps what’s up.
You see someone has just finished a set on the deadlift and there sits 500 pounds of steel, just waiting for you to show everyone what you can do.
Can you feel all the adoring eyes on you as you swagger to the bar? The ladies must be swooning and the guys all envious of your natural talent.
You grip the bar and give a mighty pull. Limbs shaking, sweat starts pouring down your face. Every molecule in your body is devoted to freeing this weight from the floor and showing everyone that you indeed, do “lift bro.”
As your body trembles, you start to wonder, “Am I done yet? Did I do it?” Your head starts to get all floaty, and you think surely, this is it, I’ve done it!
Slowly you open your eyes to a circle of people around you, all looking down on you with varying degrees of concern.
Oh, you did it all right???
You strained so hard, you blacked out. Now everyone in the gym is looking at you. The dumbass that pushed too hard while not knowing what they were doing.
You got em’ tiger way to go!
Doing your best at the moment does not mean you are doing 100 percent of what you are eventually capable of doing.
Like anything else, doing your best every day means that tomorrow you will be a little better than you were the day before.
Doing your best is taking action in the direction of your own self-interest. How can you be the best for anyone else in life if you’re not trying to be the best for yourself?
Taking action is affirming to life that you are living with intention. To sit and waste your life, to let life pass you by day after day is not doing your best.
Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television all day every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are. Expressing what you are is taking action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.
The best way we can do our best and celebrate the unique gift the universe gave each one of us is to take action in our lives, and do our best at whatever activity we currently are doing.
Ruiz uses the example of Forrest Gump.
The way most of us look at Forrest is that he wasn’t too intelligent.
Doing your best has little to do with intelligence and more to do with doing your best and taking action. Looking at Forrest Gump from this perspective, we can see how much one man accomplished just by following this one agreement.
Every aspect of life
Doing your best only at work is not what the fourth agreement is about. Always do your best. Always.
Not just when it is convenient to do your best.
It does not matter if you are feeling sick or the best you have ever felt, to make an agreement with yourself. To always do your best, is to seek out the divine in you every moment.
It is to give the best you have to offer inside of you to those around you.
Sometimes we get too caught up in our jobs, we think work is who we are instead of it just being another aspect of ourselves. We often give more to our jobs than we do to those around us that we love the most. Our jobs are there to provide for the ones we love, not take priority over them.
Make sure when you are doing your best, you are doing your best in every part of your life. Honor your family by honoring your agreement with yourself, to do your best with them as well.
If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation. Practice makes the master.
To thine own self be true
Finally, to always do your best, you have to do the best for your mind and body as well.
Ruiz reminds us not to forget to take ourselves into this agreement,
You have to honor the man or woman that you are. Respect your body, enjoy your body, love your body, feed, clean, and heal your body.
Your own body is a manifestation of God, and if you honor your body, everything will change for you.
If you are not taking care of your mind and body, if you are not always doing your best for you; you will fail in doing your best everywhere else.
This fourth agreement, like all the others, starts with you taking care of you first so that you can be the best person possible for those that you let into your life.
The Final Piece
Always do your best is the essential key in following the other three agreements. You can not commit to the four agreements and just do them when it is convenient for you.
To truly embrace and start living the four agreements you must;
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always try your best
To always try your best is to commit your mind body and soul into improving yourself.
If you genuinely want to free yourself from the anger and frustration of your current mindset, you will have to embrace all four agreements and do your best to follow them.
Does this mean you will be perfect, or that it will be easy? No. But it will be worth it.
I will leave you with this final quote by don Miguel Ruiz,
If you break an agreement, begin again tomorrow, and again the next day. It will be difficult at first, but each day will become easier and easier until someday you will discover that you are ruling your life with these Four Agreements. And you will be surprised at the way your life has been transformed.
Always do your best.