Please note I am saying this way is SIMPLE, not easy – because it is not easy, not easy at all but, my God, it IS rewarding.
So you want to be THE BEST? No, you can never be that. There will always be someone younger, brighter, more ambitious, better looking etc. etc. coming right up the ladder behind you. Always. You might make it temporarily but it will never be permanent. Never.
Sorry but it’s true. End of story.
HOWEVER, you can always be YOUR BEST and live YOUR BEST LIFE. No one is competing for that title and even if they were they could never win. Ever. End of that story too.
So now that you’ve decided that trying to be THE BEST is for mugs and you’ve realised that being YOUR best and living your best life is THE BEST THING FOR YOU what’s to do?
As I say it is simple…but not easy. Read on…
The idea came to me from a book called ‘The Official Guide to Success, Volume One’ by a man named ‘Tom Hopkins’. Check it out on the link at the end – it’s really, really great. (And it covers lots of other good stuff too, not just this.)
In that book there was mention of a sentence which Tom called ‘The Golden Dozen’. Those words, if lived by, could send you straight to the top – according to Tom (and I have no doubt he is right). So what were those words? That ‘Golden Dozen’? Well here ye go:
‘I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.’
If we did the most productive thing possible at every given moment there is no doubt we would sky rocket to the top – and I have found those words inspiring over the years.
However, I have often felt that it seems a little bit too ‘work/career’ orientated for me – having to be ‘productive’ all the time.
So I venture to put my own spin on the ‘Golden Dozen’. Firstly to broaden it so it doesn’t only apply to work (and in fairness to Tom he didn’t mean it to apply just to work either). It’s just that word ‘productive’ always got to me.
So my spin is:
‘I always choose to do the very best thing possible right now – and I love it!’
For me this is the best way to make the best use of one’s life. To squeeze the juice out of every precious minute.
Now, why is the sentence structured this way?
Well, first it is important to say ‘I always’.
Why ‘always’? Covers all the time, doesn’t it? Not ‘sometimes’, not ‘when I feel like it’, not ‘when I finally get all my ducks in a row’. No sugar coating – ‘always’. That’s it. Bam!
Next ‘choose’ – ‘I always choose’ rather than ‘I must’. Why ‘choose’? Well, for me ‘I must’ feels like a burden, something being forced upon me against my will. We can put up with ‘I must’ for so long and then we rage against it. On the other hand, being able ‘to choose’ – now that conjures up a feeling of freedom. I can choose or not choose. It’s up to me. A bit lighter and easier to bear, I think…
Then – ‘to do the very best thing possible’.
That covers doing the best in every situation within whatever limits there may be, doesn’t it? And sometimes there are limits. There is no use saying ‘I’m choosing to run a Marathon right now’ – if you haven’t trained for it. Better off choosing to go out there and run 100 metres for a start! Stick to the best thing possible. Certainly be optimistic – but be realistic!
Choosing to do ‘the very best thing possible’… What a wonderful choice. What a wonderful way to live.
Your loved one says something that irks you. Do you a) respond immediately by snapping their head off? b) choose to do the very best thing possible? That is, respond kindly, diffuse the situation, try to understand that they may have had a rough day. Great way to put an end to petty squabbles, this one.
You’re feeling lazy (but guilty) lying there watching telly as your nicely padded paunch rises up and down before your eyes. Do you a) lie there feeling rotten, open another pack of crisps and feel like a waste of space or do you b) get up off your butt and go for a walk, jog or even give the kitchen a good clean or why not really go wild and start writing that book you’ve always said was ‘in you’. What is the best thing to do?
You’re feeling lonely, no one loves you. Do you a) sit home alone feeling sad or b) get on the phone and have a good natter with someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time or grab a coat and go visit a relative that you love but ‘never have the time to see’?
You fancy that girl across the dance floor. Do you a) stand there feeling goofy and shy and wondering why you’re such a loser in love or do you b) shimmy over there oozing charm and sweep her off her feet? And if you can’t manage charm at least try being pleasant and genuine!
You get the idea…
Next we move on to ‘right now’. Why ‘right now’? Well, now is the only time we can actually do anything isn’t it? Sure we can think about doing something in the future – that’s called ‘imagination’ or we can chew over something we did in the past – that’s called ‘memory’, but ultimately we can only ever actually take real life ACTION in the NOW. Right now. Period.
And, of course, we may need to plan for the future but that planning is in the now. And when that future becomes the now we can carry out our plan – but still it happens in the now. Just think in all of eternity the only time you can actually physically act is right now.
Finally the sentence ends with ‘and I love it!’ Why do we say this? Well to remind ourselves (and to let us feel) what a blooming great way this is to live and that it’s worth the hard work! And when you do it, you will love it. Seriously, it is great. What could be better than living the very best life you can, on your terms?
One caveat here though. Do not lie to yourself. You know what the best thing is – and what it isn’t. No, eating the entire pizza all by yourself is not the best thing. No, putting off starting your workout is not the best thing. No, avoidance of doing what you know is the best thing is not the best thing!!! No, no, no. Don’t lie to yourself – and you know when you are lying – and your life will show it in big, black, gloomy letters.
Truly, if living this commitment doesn’t make big changes in your life rapidly it’s because you are not really doing the best thing possible right now. Seriously.
However – and Tom mentions this with the Golden Dozen too – be gentle with yourself. Occasionally you will mess up. Everyone does. Occasionally you will lie to yourself and you will know you are lying and you will act on that lie anyway. That’s okay. Do a quick damage assessment, move to fix the damage and move on. A habit takes time and repetition to develop so if you mess up, don’t give up. Write it off as a learning experience and move on to doing the next best thing possible right now – because that’s the best thing to do in a situation like that!
Oh and don’t be a slave driver either. The best thing can often be having a nice meal, going for a walk, taking a bubble bath, having a lie on in the morning if you’re tired or cuddling up to a loved one. It’s what’s best for YOU in your best life – so you decide. Balance is important.
Another point – sometimes you know exactly what the best thing to do is, as it’s obvious. However sometimes you’re not sure. At times like that think of the very last thing on the planet that you want to do, but you know you should. You know – that horrible report you’ve been putting off, that phone call that you dread, that dental appointment, that closet tidy up. These are the things that you’ve had hanging over your head for ages because you just can’t muster up the chutzpah to do them but they won’t go away because you know they are important to you. These are the key things to do. These are the greatest wins. Do these and your life will transform before your own amazed and delighted eyes.
But…if you haven’t had the gumption to do these to date how will you get it now? Here’s a trick I learned that will help motivate you to start even the most unpleasant task. Commit to it for just five minutes. Say to yourself ‘I’m just going to do it for five minutes and then if I still hate it I can stop.’ Five minutes of committed action (particularly for things like a workout, writing a letter, starting a project etc.) can be just enough to get you over the hump of inactivity and to develop some momentum. Once started for five minutes, more often than not, you will keep going as usually the task is not half as difficult as you imagined it to be – you might even enjoy it and, oh my God, the marvellous feeling at having it finished. Priceless!
Remember ‘I always choose to do the very best thing possible right now – and I love it!’
Follow this discipline and you will get the job, do the study, do the work out, get the girl, get the body of your dreams, you name it – if it’s the best for you, commit to living this and you will get it. No doubt about it!
However, as I said at the start it’s not easy – but it is simple. You have just got to decide that you really, really want to live your best life enough to commit to this as your mantra.
Yes, this great way of living may mean some discipline (okay, a lot of discipline!) and it certainly takes effort but the rewards are only limited by your own imagination and choices. And once you get a taste for how this can improve your life you’ll never want to stop.
So finally (and again with acknowledgement for similar steps in the great Tom Hopkins book) this is what you do:
1) Start by saying to yourself:
‘I always choose to do the very best thing possible right now – and I love it!’
2) Decide what that best thing is.
3) Do it – as much as is possible right now.
4) Feel the satisfaction of your best life being well lived.
5) Repeat from step one – & enjoy seeing your wonderful life unfold before you.
Now get to it. What are you waiting for? Time is a passin’ and your life won’t improve one jot without you taking some ‘best thing’ action right now! Good Luck with it!
PS If you would like to read the book that inspired this post check out this wonderful book ‘The Official Guide to Success, Volume One’ by Tom Hopkins.