“I’m doing the best that I can.” How do you respond to someone who uses this as his or her reasoning? What is the best that anyone can do, and how do I determine whether I am really doing my best – or not? If I use this as my “out”, is it good enough to accept?
This sounds judgmental even to me, but I have reasons to doubt this excuse. This past Sunday, in our fellowship, our speaker was discussing “a little bit more”. He did not use the phrase in response to greed or money or material things. It was used to connect with social action, love, forgiveness, generosity. Have I done enough? Have I done my best? No – do a little bit more. How much is a little bit more? Just a little bit. The distance between your thumb and pointing finger when placed close together. An inch. Or a just little bit more.
Many years ago while in sales, our manager advised us to make one more stop when we were ready to quit. And you know when you’re ready to quit. Just pick out one more business, make one last call, and contact one more person. That was the defining point (in his opinion) between success and lack of.
Sometimes me must live to fight, love, build, support another day. This means that we must rest, revitalize, and nourish ourselves to be able to “give a little bit more”. Some days a little bit more may be too much for you. Sometimes any is a little bit more. But I know I must be discerning when making this call and I’m attempting to be careful when making this decision.
You could decide that this is setting yourself up for constant disappointment in yourself. Or you could reason that as long as you tried a little bit harder, you went a little bit further, you loved a little bit deeper, you forgave a little bit greater, you gave just a little bit more (money, time, effort) instead of stopping when you really wanted to, you will experience a far greater satisfaction. Satisfaction instead of disappointment. We get to decide. Have you caught yourself saying, “I’m doing the best that I can”? If so, I believe you are better. I believe I am better.
I think this has become my catch-all phrase that really means I’m tired of trying. I’m weary of the effort I’m putting forth. That would be more honest in my case. I’m not doing the best that I can because I’m tired of the work. I’m tired of trying to give my best when it seems clear to me that my best still will be nowhere good enough. So where does that take me?
It takes me deeper into me to understand why I can’t give more. Why I’m so tired of trying, why I want to give up. I think it really means that I’m lost as to what else to do – for the moment. I may not be lost forever, and I may find my way soon, but I’m lost as to what the next step needs to be. Perhaps if I begin to use that as the reasoning – simply right now I’m lost and seeking direction – and I add that I trust the universe/God to show me the way, I will become better at whatever it is I’m trying to do. It really is ok to be lost. In fact, it is likely necessary for growth.
I will trust that guidance will come. Today I will seek to do a little bit more. Then perhaps my best can truly shine through.