Mar 28

Personal Best

Years ago I saw a film called “Personal Best.” It was about women training for the Olympics.

In the end, they were unable to attend the Olympics because the U.S. called for a boycott that year for political reasons. So the women’s only reward was their knowledge that each of them had done her “personal best.”

Most of us want to accomplish goals, and each of us has his or her own reasons for doing so. Some people want to increase their self-esteem, to impress others, or to gain fame, money, or rewards of other kinds. These are all valid reasons. But are they enough?

Many of us want to accomplish goals primarily so we can make use of our talents and abilities to find personal fulfillment, as well as contribute something positive to the world. It gives us a sense of satisfaction to know that we can do what we set out to do. When our goals are positive and help both ourselves and others, it’s important to persist in the face of adversity.

Striving to accomplish goals can give us a sense of purpose. But we need to remember that not everyone can or should live according to the same standards of excellence.

What is important to you? And what is your personal best?

Each of us is unique—one of a kind. What would the world be like if there were only one kind of animal? Is a butterfly less successful than a giraffe? Every life matters and everyone can do his or her best given differing life circumstances.

First, we have to examine our goal: Is it positive? Is it worthy? Does it help ourselves and others? And does it use our own specific talents and abilities?

Even if we meet many obstacles along the way, setting worthwhile goals gives our lives direction and purpose.

The Dalai Lama has said:

“Every noble work is bound to face problems and obstacles. It is important to check your goal and motivation thoroughly. One should be very truthful, honest, and reasonable. One’s actions should be good for others, and for oneself as well. Once a positive goal is chosen, you should decide to pursue it all the way to the end. Even if it is not realized, at least there will be no regret.”

So do what is right for you. Do your own personal best, and don’t compare yourself with others. Only you know everything it takes to be you.

“I believe that constant effort, tireless effort, pursuing clear goals with sincere effort is the only way.” —His Holiness the Dalai Lama