Is This The Best You Can Do?

A few years ago, I was going to the lower level of my home to get a tool out of my toolbox. Because I was not concentrating I missed the last step and went flying forward.

As I fell forward I grabbed the doorknob, the force of which tore the doorknob from the door. Although I did not break any bones, I tore ligaments in my right hand and sprained my ankle. The lesson I learned from this experience is it dangerous to miss a step. 

The same is true during the pandemic. Missing a step or two in staying healthy during the pandemic can have dire consequences. 

We have all heard about the importance of hand washing for 20 seconds. How many of us do this consistently? For 20 seconds? I don’t know about you but I feel guilty if I don’t or consider skipping it. 

Then, there is social isolation. Do you avoid getting too close to others? Cross the street to keep your distance? Wear a mask? Avoid large gatherings of people?

Are you doing your best to stay healthy? Your very best for yourself and to protect others?

The late cofounder of Apple, Steve Jobs routinely asked designers if this is the best you can do to push them to make their latest innovations more wonderful and inspiring to consumers.

Similarly, US Senator Henry Kissinger asked his employees, “Is this best you can do”? One particular employee, Winston Lord, had an important assignment that he had worked on putting in his best effort to please his boss. When he presented his report to Mr. Kissinger, asked him, “Is this the best you can do?” Hearing that, Mr. Lord agreed to do further work on his report.

When he presented his next draft and subsequent drafts, again and again Mr. Kissinger asked, “Is this the best you can do?” Hearing that question, Mr. Lord, reworked and presented draft after draft to Mr. Kissinger.

When Mr. Lord presented his 9th draft, he exclaimed, “I have done the best I can do; I cannot change a single word”. Hearing that, Mr. Kissinger said, “I will read it now that you have done your best.”

Good is the enemy of great. Good is a poor substitute for great.

We must constantly challenge ourselves asking, “Is this the best I can do?”

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Especially when it comes to our health and social practices. Are we doing our best – the best we can do?