Doing YOUR BEST is More Important Than Being “The Best”

It Takes Radical Commitment to Accomplish Excellence

Doing our best requires attention to detail.

Pastor Lee told a story of a restaurant that was striving for excellence in the workplace. They had a regular customer that ordered the same soup every time he came in. One day after his soup was brought, he asked the waiter to taste it. The waiter assured the customer that it was the same exact soup as always. The customer was adamant that the waiter taste it. Finally, the waiter gave in and then reached for the spoon and realized there wasn’t one. Of course, this was the customer’s point.

Amazing soup is no good without a spoon.

Doing our best requires commitment.

Last week I wrote about the reduction in commitment. Commitment is needed if we are going to do our best.

When Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird started playing ball, he was committed to working hard to be the best he could be. At 13 he would get out of bed early to go to the gym to practice free throws. He would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.

He was one of the highest ranked free throw shooters over his 13-year career with an 89% average. That’s 9 out of every 10 shots.

Doing our best requires never quitting.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers he says,

“In fact, by the age of twenty, the elite performers (violinists) had each totaled ten thousand hours of practice.” — p. 38

“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin. — p. 40

“To become a chess grandmaster also seems to take about ten years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fisher got to that elite level in less than that amount of time: it took him nine years.) And what’s ten years? Well, it’s roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” — p. 41

Never quitting requires overcoming obstacles.

Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby shared a lesson her mother taught her about overcoming obstacles.

Her mother was stricken with polio when carrying her first child and was confined to a wheelchair and crutches. She never let that discourage her. She managed to raise five children and have a career as well.

Cathy was totally absorbed with gymnastics and by 1972 she was on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team going to the Olympic Games in Munich. She could think of nothing but winning the gold medal.

After performing to the best of her ability, she didn’t win a gold medal and was crushed. After the winners were announced she joined her parents in the stands, all set for a big cry. She apologized and said, “I’m sorry. I did my best.”

“You know that, and I know that,” my mother said, “and I’m sure God knows that, too.” She smiled and said ten words that I never forgot:

“Doing your best is more important than being the best.”

We can never be the best this side of heaven, but we can do our best. Jesus is our example of being the best. Follow that example!

There’s a Reduced Level of Commitment…What Happened to it?

Not Keeping a Commitment is no Different Than Breaking a Promise

This past week, we discussed “confirmation” at a meeting at church. This is the process in the United Methodist Church where young people (early to mid-teens) publicly confirm their intention to live the vows made on their behalf at their baptism.

This process requires a commitment to attend ten to fifteen weekly classes as well as retreats, service projects and spiritual exercises. At the end of this process the person confirms their commitment going forward in front of the congregation.

There were concerns expressed that it was going to be hard to get these young people and their parents to commit to the level of commitment needed for this process. The commitment starts with the confirmation process.

The problem may be more about distraction than commitment.

There is so many things going on and we (especially young people) are bombarded with opportunities and information. The problem with commitment may be more of a tortoise and hare situation.

In this fable the fast and confident rabbit is challenged to a race by the slow and focused turtle. Spoiler alert, the slow turtle beats the fast rabbit.

This happens because after the rabbit gets a big lead, he loses his focus and decides to take a nap. Was the rabbit’s level of commitment less or was he just distracted?

What is commitment anyway?

Commitment is promising, pledging, being obligated or dedicated to doing what you said you would. These are some pretty serious words. A promise is not something I take lightly.

Commitment is the same thing as a promise. Ouch!

The topic of commitment came up again in a discussion about accountability in this week’s mastermind.

As a part of the weekly mastermind, we each commit to a goal we will accomplish prior to the next meeting. This past week there were several of us who had not accomplished our goals.

This then became a discussion of why the commitments we make to others seem to have a higher priority than one we make to ourselves. I think this comes from having a servant’s heart and less about the importance of the specific commitment.

If the goals that we set for ourselves are in alignment with the goals that God has given us, then they are important. We need to take an inventory the things we’re trying to do and get them in order based on whose priorities they are.

I do think the level of commitment is reduced due in part to distractions, over committing and receiving participation trophies for just showing up.

I need to stop kicking the accountability can down the road and commit to be more committed.

I need to make sure that my priorities are in alignment with God’s. If I’m focusing on those things, it will help me be committed to accomplish them. Commitment is as much about clarity of purpose as anything.

Making a commitment is a promise to God.

Building Blocks in The Foundation of a Good Life

Communication, Commitment and Compassion Should Be Three of Them

 

Whether it’s a family, a business or your life you’re working on, these three C’s should be included in the foundation. They need to be included in your foundation if you are going to build well.


Communication – is not about just being heard but more importantly about hearing. We are surrounded by so much noise we can barely hear ourselves think. Today’s technology has made it easier than ever to connect with people around the world, but this isn’t ‘communication’.


Just like what happened on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13, when the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles. They began to speak and even though there were people from every country, they could each understand in their own language. Even though someone is speaking to us in a language that we know, are we really hearing and understanding?


Communication is more about listening than talking.

 

Commitment – is the level of which we are dedicated to a cause or activity. You’ve heard it said that actions speak louder than words. It certainly is easier to say we’re going to do something than it is to actually do it. We often say things before we evaluate what the action is going to cost.

 

The Hell’s Angels have a creed that they are family and they will live, fight and die together. Their purpose may not be the best, but they are definitely ‘committed’ to it.


Our commitment is revealed by where we spend our time and money.


Compassion – is when we show genuine concern for someone else’s situation. It is putting ourselves in their place, “walking in their shoes”. This is difficult, not because we don’t want to, but because we get consumed by our own lives.


Part of what we have been put here to do, our purpose, is to serve others. Serving others requires us to look at things from their point of view. What is it that they want or need and how can we best help them to achieve it?


Building your life with these three building blocks in the foundation will provide a solid life.