“If you try to do your best, there is no failure.”
“A problem is a chance to do your best.”
“Just do your best. I find that if I set that goal for myself and no one else, I feel good.”
I’m doing my best. Sometimes we do our best but it doesn’t seem to help. In her book Loving What Is, Byron Katie says everyone is always doing their best at all times. With all due respect, I don’t see that, not in others and certainly not in myself. But now I’m doing my best and it seems that things are getting worse. Or maybe they just seem like that. Maybe life is hard sometimes and we have to get through it. No, we have to do more than get through it; we have to decide how we are going to deal with the challenges that life brings. So how can I do my best?
First, I just can. There’s an ocean of information and advice in books, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet on how to do almost anything better. We can learn how to manage our time, our money, how to get a job, how to improve relationships, how to be a better parent, how to be a more effective student, how to invest more wisely, or…or…or…well…anything. The word “Google,” named after the Internet search engine has become a verb, meaning to look up something. I can “google” (small g) anything. Literally. All the advice and ideas are out there. Most of it is free and I don’t even have to leave my home. If I’m a more visual learner, I can “YouTube” something, for example, organizational tips or how to fold laundry or braid hair or change oil, or…or…or…well…anything. There is a plethora of resources available literally at my fingertips. And they can help me do my best.
The second thing I can do is be grateful. Yes, life is hard. It’s hard for you and it’s hard for me. But usually there’s something, no, several things that are good in our lives. It may be our job, our health, our relationships. It may be the simple ability to read this blog and know that if I can read, then I can access information and ideas and create change. If I have health, I can take a walk or get a job or clean my place. There is so much to be grateful for. Being grateful does not mean being unrealistic or ignoring my problems. It requires a true assessment of my life, good and bad. When I practice gratitude I may realize that there is more good than bad and I may be more able to formulate solutions for what I want to change.
The third thing I can do is to create a plan. In order to do that, I need a realistic understanding of my current situation and I have to be objective. For example, I might say, “I’m $100,000 in debt.” It doesn’t help to add, “Oh my gosh! It’s hopeless! I’m doomed!” Rather, just write down what your situation is (yes, write it so you can put things in order on paper). Write it objectively, almost as if it were happening to someone else. That might take some of the sting out and maybe in this process a solution will come.
Finally, the fourth thing I can do is take action. Almost any action will do. I have found peace, relief, and solutions in the following ways:
· Creating a list of goals for the day or even for the next hour
· Washing the dishes
· Folding the laundry
· Making my bed
· Helping someone
Buddhism says that we don’t have to suffer. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I don’t think we have to suffer as much or for as long as we often do. We don’t have to stay in the mire of depression or discouragement. We can take action. We can Get Started and Keep Going. We can do our best.