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Trying "Your" Best

This is a story.

A Sensei was conducting class. As the group began, he said, "Everyone try your best. I'll be watching."

The senior student was clearly stronger and more skilled than the others. He moved faster than the others and his movements were cleaner.

At the end of class, the Sensei spoke to each student. He praised most of them and encouraged the others. But when he got to the senior student he said, "Not so good."

The senior student did not understand. "But I am clearly stronger than the rest of the class," he said. "I did more kata. I'm cleaner. I'm faster. How can you say not so good? I did better than everyone else!"

[OK, this student is a real pain, but please just go along with the story.]

The Sensei shook is head and took a long breath. "I told everyone to try their best. I did not tell you to try the best of the rest of the class, I said to try your best. Stop comparing yourself to others. They tried their best. You did not. You don't get ahead by passing others, you get ahead by surpassing your own best!"

Try your best.


Charles C. Goodin