“28 Ways To Absolutely NAIL ‘Tremendous’, hunh?”
“And this is the sixth one?” The Weird is strong in this one.
That would be correct, yes.
“Well, where’s the first five?” O Lord, a little extra patience drizzled over my clenched teeth might be in order. . .
They’re in the 2nd Cup archives. I’m sure you’ll find them.
“Okay, do you really have people approach you like that?”
Nah. It’s just my writer’s way of reminding everyone how many of these there are, and which one we’re on today. You can relax. There aren’t any people like that. . . Are there?
Yes. Another question? The lady in green right there. No, next— yeah, right there. Highlighted silver spiked hair with the big smile. . . Yes–you.
“Isn’t ‘Be at your best’ and ‘be being at your best’ the same thing?”
Great question! And a super segue into our topic–thanks!
Her question was, “Isn’t ‘be at your best’ and ‘be being at your best’ the same thing?”
No, it isn’t. It’s a matter of duration. If I tell you to be at your best, can you do that today? How about for the next few hours? Over lunch? Can you be at your best for the next 17 minutes?
Sure. “Be at your best” almost has ‘TEMPORARY’ all over it. “You betcha, Hoss! I’ll be at my best this whole week!” Unspoken: “But on Saturday? I’m revertin’ back to my normal obnoxious, nosey, highly-antisocial, only-slightly-lazy self.”
If I tell you to “be being at your best”, it even sounds different, doesn’t it? There’s something ongoing about that word, ‘being’. I believe those three little letters, ‘i-n-g’ to be of such importance that some years ago I began a personal improvement campaign.
I began making a conscious effort to remove, whenever workable, any use of a word ending in ‘-ed’ and replacing it with that same word ending in ‘-ing. . .’ Here’s an example.
“I have learned.” versus “I am learning. . .”. The first one is abrupt. Finished. Done. The latter, however, reveals a thirsty, searching intellect that is never quite satisfied; whose desire is to constantly be learning and applying more.
There is one more thing that will ram this even further down into your soul.
Emphasize the word, “your” as you read #6. . .
“DON’T JUST COMPETE; BE BEING YOUR BEST!”
God issues the call to every one of us to come as we are but never once to stay as we are. It’s true that God loves you just the way you are; but He loves you way too much to leave you that way. Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one.
Without exception, the most grueling, ruthless, demanding and irritating competitor you’ll ever have is you. You’re your own worst critic; if left alone, you’ll customarily look right at positive good through the filters of negative bad.
To overcome the tyranny of self, you’ve got to get beyond just competing with others. Anybody can do that. The one you really need to conquer is who stares back at you from your mirror every morning. Oh, yeah, babe–it’s definitely a DAILY deal, this being at your best.
There’s no straighter road to success than exceeding expectations one day at a time. (Robin Crow). In other words, we’re being at our own personal best a day at a time–but never, ever stopping there.
We were put here to provide a pattern, an example for our children. The only way I can do that is to give them something worth following. But, see, I don’t want my children to just follow in my footsteps. I want them to take the path next to me and go farther than I ever dreamt possible. I can’t do that if I’m sluffing off in this process of being at my personal best each new day.
When I encourage you to ‘be being at your best’, I don’t know what that means for you. You’ll have to decide that. There are scads of great motivational speakers and teachers. There’s all sorts of wonderful multimedia instruction available. But in the final analysis, you need to motivate yourself.
I have no clue what that’ll take. But I LOVE what I noticed on the back of a guy’s t-shirt. He was, ah, large. He was out jogging, sweating so that his shirt was dark, and his sweatband soaked. He was chuffing like an old 844 Cuban steam locomotive, barely moving beyond the pace of a fast walker. But it was what was printed on the back of his shirt that grabbed my attention.
“60. Fat. Diabetic. Ahead of YOU.”
Don’t just compete. Be being at YOUR best. That man had figured out how to do that. It didn’t matter who else was sleekly clad, smoothly parting to go around this unappealing behemoth. It didn’t even register if anyone else was out there at all. He’d figured out what ‘being at his best’ meant, what it looked like and was getting after it. Now, what do you suppose the odds are that he’d be out there tomorrow. And the next day. And. . .
© D. Dean Boone, June 2014