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It is about doing "your" best "in the moment!"

It is NOT about being the best, NOR better than you were; it's simply about doing your best in the moment. This is all that truly matters!

Time and again most are exhorted to "be the best." This has been seen from time immemorial. And this is the reason competitions were instituted - to reward the "best" - and it continues across all aspects of life. Competitive & entrance examinations being cases in POINT. And the list goes on across all aspects of life - sports, performing arts, professions etc. And in today's scenario, it also becomes the "rat race" that people refer to some areas of their lives as!

It's therefore useful to understand the evolutionary, historical, social, economic, geographic, cultural and even political underpinnings for this. And then adopt the essence as appropriate to the situation that exists now. Evolutionarily and over the passage of time, it has been very useful to be the best - all living beings are programmed to ensure that their gene pool lives on! And this also leads to the situation that it is important to be the best, at least in the circumstances, to ensure that one's genes live on.

Also, to survive in a harsh and unforgiving environment, it is useful to develop some skills and attributes - sometimes at the cost of others and their suffering and sometimes that others lose out much, including their lives. Sometimes, this kind of situation is referred to as a "dog eat dog world!" However, when that same approach is applied mindlessly, and without thought, it becomes less than useful. It's at this juncture that it's useful to remind oneself that to be human, is to care and share!

Sometimes, a version of this "being the best" takes on the "Being better than I was" - this takes away the comparison with others since many have understood, at least intellectually, that a mindless comparison with others is detrimental. However, this is still about comparing oneself with a version of themselves from the past! This is slightly better than aiming to be the best, for sure. However, if this is used in conjunction with dissatisfaction at not becoming better than before, then it might not always be useful. Mindful dissatisfaction could be useful, to inspire one to adopt better approaches to improvement.

This "better than I was before" approach presupposes that if one were able to do something in the past, they should now be able to do better than that! This again becomes a mindless comparison over time. For example, one should be more flexible at 60 years of age, than they were at 16! The moment one understands that a mindless application or adoption of anything is not useful, they become a little better than they were! (the irony is intended!)

Many factors are involved in how one is able to do something - the external environment with many factors, and the internal environment, again with many factors - physical, mental and emotional. And all of those have a bearing on one's performance!

Comparing oneself with any other, including one's own past performance is useful - as long as it is used to inspire oneself to do one's best in THIS MOMENT. If it takes on any other form - especially making oneself feel less about themselves, or excessive fear, doubt, anger, guilt, shame, pride etc. then it is not useful. Note: the operative word is "excessive" - an appropriate level of any or all of those emotions and feelings is useful. The line between appropriate and excessive is very blurred and many realise it ONLY when they have crossed the line for an extended period of time!

In summary, it is NOT about being the best at all; it is about doing one's best in the given circumstances. A simple way is to ask the question, "in the situation, and circumstances, and after taking into account the external and internal environment, have I done the very best I could have?" And if the truthful answer is "YES," then there is nothing else they could have done. And with the learning, they get in this moment, with awareness, and attention, act in a manner that they are doing THEIR BEST in the next moment!

It is not about being the best; it is not about being better than anyone else, or even oneself at another point in time; it is ONLY about doing one's best in the present moment!