The best? What best?

Being a mother makes me think a lot about how we become who we are (and how, as a parent, I can influence who my daughter becomes). And while my main motivation here is to do my best as a mother, I have had a number of eye opening revelations about myself and other adults while thinking about children.

I recently read (but forgot the title of the book) about the difference between asking your child:
“Were you the best?” and
“Did you do your best?”

Let’s face it: When are we ever THE BEST at anything? I mean, compared to the rest of the world… There is always someone out there who is better, richer, more beautiful or knows more about social network analysis. So if you train yourself (or your kids for that matter) to compare yourself with others, you will never measure up. And you will always need external recognition and comparison to know how you are doing and whether you are successful.

Now imagine the major shift that happens if you start asking: “Did I do my best?” You are also asking an ambitious question and sure, we cannot always do our best in everything. But doing one’s best is something inherently achievable, it’s an empowering question, because it is (mainly) in your own hands whether or not you do your best. And comparing yourself with yourself you can become more independent from external judgment and expectations. Finally you are free to live up to your very own potential, your own success.

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