During quarantine, I have been able to better prioritize my mental and physical health, learn new things and actively work towards being a better me. In the morning, I meditate and say my prayers. Before quarantine, I would ask God to help me be the best version of myself. Pretty standard request, no? It wasn’t until I was in quarantine for a few weeks that I started to second guess the rhetoric I was using in my prayers.
What is “The Best Version” of Myself?
There are certain scenarios where being the best is something defined and quantifiable. Such is the case with athletes or salespeople. Someone can be considered the best at chess if they are able to defeat all other chess champions. But when we say “the best version of myself”, this is far more difficult to quantify and ultimately harder to work towards.
I had reached a point where every time I said it, the words started to feel more and more passive. The whole reason I pray is to actively acknowledge what I am thankful for, what I am working towards, and what I need help with. The ‘best version’ of myself is not only ambiguous, but somewhat limiting. Maybe I am already the best version of myself. You can’t be vague when you’re trying to improve your life. You need to have goals. You need to have benchmarks that when reached you can look back and say, “I used to be there, now I’m here. Onto the next one.”
Being the best also implies that there is nowhere else to go once you get there. Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best when he said “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” When you are ‘the best’ you have reached your destination. All you can do now is maintain your status or be knocked down by someone else. I have since changed my rhetoric to ask for help not with being the best version of myself, but to just be better.
Don’t be the best. Be better.
Being better, as opposed to the being best, is a more sensible milestone that can be iterated over again and again as you progress. Your ultimate goal might be to be the best basketball player of all time. You can’t get there without first getting better than you were before. The change from being a novice to being the best is not instantaneous…