Never Settle for Second Best from Yourself

"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."

Those were the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even now almost 50 years after his death there is much that we can take from them. These words go beyond the simple idea that we should always do our best. I honestly believe that he chose a street sweeper as the subject of this speech to illustrate that even the perceived lowliest of jobs are deserving of respect and effort.

Too often I hear people say that they want only the best for themselves and their families. Rarely does anyone express the desire to give only the best, but the two go hand in hand.

In this life you get what you give. Doing your best, just like winning and losing, is as much a matter of habit as it is of talent. History is full of great men and women who achieved wondrous things, not because they were the most talented, but because they developed the habit of doing everything they could to be as perfect as they could become. That was their true talent.

Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times in his quest for a light bulb. Colonel Sanders went bankrupt and lived out of his car for almost 10 years. He survived by selling chicken, later to become his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe, on a commission basis, one bird at a time. Michael Jordon, arguably the greatest player to ever dribble a ball, was cut from his high school basketball team. He went home and dedicated himself to making 1,000 shots a day and even at the height of his career was noted for always being the first one in the gym and the last one out each day.

Reach for your goals! Focus on them but never settle for less than the best from yourself. Be prepared to fail and learn from that failure. Be prepared to take baby steps rather than giant leaps. Be prepared to work and earn the very best. Only then great things will happen in your life.

Work like Edison, twenty hours a day. Be dedicated like Colonel. Sanders. Sweat like Jordon. You have to give your best to get the best life has to offer. No job is so small that it doesn't deserve your best effort.

My challenge for you this week:

Give a little more of yourself.

  1. Grab a piece of paper and write down what your best future life looks like. Put as much detail to this description as possible.

  2. Decide whether or not you are willing to give only your best effort to close the gap between your current life and your best future life.

  3. If you are willing to give only your best effort, what will you need to do more of on a daily basis?

  4. Keep a log of your steps toward your best future.

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