jump to navigation

To Be Or NOT To Be The Best You Can Be December 4, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

While engaged in the internal debate about whether to leave the practice of law, I asked myself whether I would be willing to devote 40 hours a week for 3 years if I was guaranteed to become the BEST trial attorney . . . in the WORLD.

How’s that for aiming high?  

The answer . . . NO!

I resigned the next day.

There is no need to be the best at something you don’t even want to be.

At this point, I’m not big on setting goals or making far-reaching resolutions.  I prefer to go with the flow without any specific aspirations for the future.

At times, friends have been “annoyed” with my decision NOT to set goals for myself ~ they feel like we should always be REACHING for something just out of reach instead of being content with what we have, where we are.

Tigger-PogoIf I say my goal is “to embrace uncertainty as the path unfolds before me” or “to be happy,” they get frustrated and insist that “everyone has to have goals.”

“I don’t.” :mrgreen:

Success, to me, involves embracing the Here and Now without trying to force anything.

If we’re too focused on reaching a set destination, we miss all the lovely detours along the way.

(Of course, if I hadn’t set goals earlier in life, I wouldn’t be where I am today.)

In like vein, I am unconcerned with leaving a lasting legacy ~ I stopped using an external yardstick to measure my actions years ago.   We have as many reputations as acquaintances and none is accurate. I don’t much care what people think about me now, I expect I’ll care even less when I’m dead.

I use an internal barometer to govern my choices rather than choosing what to do HERE and NOW based upon what “they” might (or might not) think about me “down the road.”


That said, I still enjoy making people laugh and smile because seeing them smile makes ME feel good ~ my internal barometer lights up when they do!

To that end, we can “serve the world” by encouraging people to relax, smile, and be mindful of this moment.

We can listen to others and share what we’ve learned to help lighten their load, even if nothing changes but their perspective.

We can’t change the world, but we can inspire the world to change.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  The Goal Behind All Goals * Reaching (Suzicate)


1. suzicate - December 4, 2013

“We can’t change the world, but we can inspire the world to change.” -I love this as it is so true. Thanks for the ping back.

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Here’s to BE~ing the change we wish to see in the world. 😀

2. shreejacob - December 4, 2013

I liked this post…hmm…yea…I just liked it…and the message of course!

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Now that I’m no longer tripping over goals, it’s much easier to go with the flow and embrace what is offered.

3. Arlee Bird - December 4, 2013

That’s pretty much been my philosophy in life. That’s one reason why I have so little set aside for retirement. But I can say I’ve had a pretty good life along the way. I figure I’ll always find a way as God has always provided for me in the past and I expect that will continue to be the case. Besides, things change and goals and plans can get disrupted and turned around.

Tossing It Out

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

I was very goal-oriented in my early years ~ the residual of those early goals has given me the freedom to do what I want Now.

We each must find the right balance for us, always remembering that LIFE is what happens while we’re busy making PLANS. 😛

4. Pix Under the Oaks - December 4, 2013

I like the whole idea of enjoying the here and now! Some here and nows are easier than others but I am working on it.. 🙂

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Once when BFF and I were caught in a blizzard, I desperately wanted to escape the “here and now.” Then I realized that it wasn’t the “here and now” causing me anxiety ~ it was jousting with a future that hadn’t yet arrived causing me to freak out. 😯

When I relaxed into the Now, the blizzard became blowing snow.

5. katecrimmins - December 4, 2013

The problem with a goal of being the best of the best is not the 40 hours/week but the 18 hours/day for years and years. You do have goals. You post everyday or almost. You have fun. You are living lift to the fullest. That is the best goal possible.

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Thanks, Kate. I do (occasionally) accomplish things as I flow through days and nights, but it’s different from when I lived a goal-oriented life. I didn’t start SLTW with a “destination” in mind ~ no set number of posts, jokes, readers, or views. I just started writing and posting with the intent to enjoy the journey. Thus far, I have. Most of the time anyway. :mrgreen:

I’m convinced that the goal behind ALL goals is happiness. So we can skip the middle-man and just say I have one goal ~ “to be happy.” As long as we’re enjoying what we’re doing, we can be pretty sure that we are on the right path for us.

In contrast, many people who set GOALS for themselves don’t even realize they’ve taken a WRONG turn.

6. kateshrewsday - December 4, 2013

Amen, Nancy. We have one life, as far as I know; while a sense of direction is probably essential, a driving ambition to get to the destination isn’t. Rather, a willingness to stop and savour joy when it happens, along the way.
Beautiful post today.

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Thanks, Kate. The younger we are, the more “direction” we need ~ so that we keep future possibilities open.

Most of us benefit from going to school, learning to read and write, getting a well-rounded education, earning (and learning) what we need to provide food, shelter, and clothing for ourselves with enough left over to have some FUN.

Beyond that . . . the more we go with the flow, mindfully embracing the possibilities of THIS moment, the more chances we have to add to our happiness right HERE and NOW.

7. Grannymar - December 4, 2013

I am so with you on this. Nobody, but nobody can read every book ever printed, or study for every exam they can discover, if so they are not giving anything back to mankind. Who wants to be that selfish. I prefer to smell the roses.

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

It’s great to have lots of interests to pursue, but it’s sad if we’re always RACING for the FINISH LINE to cross yet another arbitrary goal off our Bucket List.

It’s hard to enjoy the full fragrance and spectrum of life if we don’t stand still and breathe it in.

Grannymar - December 4, 2013

Yes, we all need time to talk to the ducks!

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

And to listen to them LAUGHING! Quack Quack Quack.

8. colonialist - December 4, 2013

A high-flying legal eagle who didn’t particulary enjoy altitude was certainly not the right way to go!

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Going to law school and practicing law for 13 years was the right way to go . . . sticking with it for the sake of “consistency” would have been a mistake.

It served its purpose as a major stepping stone in my life and a source of my freedom today. Yay!

9. Eric Tonningsen - December 4, 2013

What I like and respect is that different approaches work for each individual. If it’s goals, attaboy. If it’s flow, attagirl. How we become more of who we are, at our core, is by figuring out what works best for ourselves. 🙂

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Exactly right. That’s why I wrote this in the first person. What works for me won’t necessarily work for anyone else.

10. Tom Merriman - December 4, 2013

I think stepping stone goals are a better idea, Nancy, than far-reaching, long-term goals. Just keep hopping on to the next one, and if a change of direction is needed then, then just change the path!

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Yes!!! When I went to law school, I assumed that I was choosing a career for life. I loved law school and loved practicing law . . . until, after 13 years, I didn’t any more. At that point, more than a few people told me it was “too late” to change careers because of the investment I’d made. And they believed it!

Who says we have to be locked into X for life if Y is more appealing? 😛

11. ericjbaker - December 4, 2013

Often times, lofty goals require stepping on other people or living a self-indulgent, me-me-me life. The dark side of “if you want it bad enough” is narcissism.

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

True dat! For some the END justifies whatever MEANS they choose . . . including lying, cheating, and stealing. 😐

I love watching people doing what they love and growing their careers organically . . . without stepping on anyone else in the process. Examples ~ artists, writers, musicians, etc.

12. Andra Watkins - December 4, 2013

At this point, I prefer to do things without much of a plan. Even writing works that way. The characters unravel the story.

nrhatch - December 4, 2013

Another great example of FLOW in action, Andra. When we step into a story (or painting . . . think Mary Poppins), who knows where we’ll end up? Often the carousel is just over the next hill.

13. sufilight - December 5, 2013

I wrote in Bubblews (where I write as well) about not setting goals at the beginning of the new year, that I prefer to go with the flow and see what shows up during the year. It works for me.

nrhatch - December 5, 2013

Yes! I used to set New Year’s Resolutions as if there was something magical about that arbitrary date on the Roman Calendar. Doing so allowed for LOTS of procrastination if something worthy of attention popped up mid-year. :mrgreen:

Now, I decide on a daily (or hourly) basis where to place my focus for maximum rewards.

14. jannatwrites - December 5, 2013

I think goals are overrated. I don’t plan long-term goals because that would assume that I haven’t changed at all in that time and I still want the same things. And, if such goal was all I had in my sights, other opportunities would surely be missed. (I had a boss that insisted on a written 5-year plan. I explained why I didn’t want to do it but she didn’t go for it. I wrote down that in five years I wanted her job…even though I really didn’t :))

nrhatch - December 5, 2013

Yes!!! That’s a big part of it. When we set goals, our desires often change by the time we attain them (or new desires arise to take their place) . . . leaving us perpetually dissatisfied.

When we stop striving for the NEXT thing and the NEXT and the NEXT, we realize how much we already have and happiness surfaces even in the midst of peeling carrots.

And LOL . . . I bet she loved hearing that you wanted her job ~ while at the same time worrying about whether you would get it! 😛

15. brendamarroy - December 5, 2013

I’m not one to set goals or make resolutions either. That does not mean there are not things I would like to do. I just don’t set a goal for when to have it happen or how to do it. It still amazes me that others want me to be like them or at the least be what they think I should be. My thought is, “How could you possibly know who I am supposed to be?”. Oyvey.

nrhatch - December 5, 2013

Yes!!! There are things I want to do and they get done in the normal course of events without me having to “crack the whip.”

Like you, I am amused by people who want to tell me what they would do if they were in MY shoes. Silly rabbits.

16. Bumba - December 6, 2013

Goals. Hopes, Beliefs. Generally harmful notions/BS. Enjoyed your article.

nrhatch - December 6, 2013

They can get in the way, can’t they? 😛

Bumba - December 6, 2013


17. bluebee - December 6, 2013

It’s very liberating not to care

nrhatch - December 6, 2013

So much of what people do is governed by the notion that it matters what “they” think of us.

When we shed that notion, a paradigm shift occurs.

18. My Light Bag - December 12, 2013

Love this post and completely agree with it. Many people have ‘advised’ me to go for a job for the money or status or future benefits. But I always said – if I don’t believe in it with my whole heart, if it doesn’t seem to be the point of life, then there’s no point in doing it. Now, I am trying to do things that to me, seem to contain a real life meaning in them, something that will have eternal good repercussions rather than immediate satisfactions. Such as making someone laugh, or sharing a message through writing 🙂

nrhatch - December 12, 2013

Go you! Making people laugh ranks WAY up there in my book of “Ways to Serve.” 😀

19. Perfecting Motherhood - December 18, 2013

I always tell my kids to do their best at whatever they do, but also remind them they can’t be great at everything. I hope I can guide them on a path that will make them happy and fulfilled, whatever they decide to do with their lives.

nrhatch - December 18, 2013

Growing up, many/most of us absorb the message to ALWAYS do our best ~ “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right,” etc.

Why? Why is “good enough” not “good enough.”

Some would say that we should do our best because people are judging us and our efforts, and b/c our reputations are at stake. Of course, all this feeds into the endless cycle of Ego gratification and frustration.

Plus, if they are judging us . . . shouldn’t we repay the favor?

Perfecting Motherhood - December 18, 2013

Notice that I said do their best, not do it perfectly. Perfection is so subjective in many cases and often a waste of time. So yes, good enough works for me most of the time. But… my oldest likes to do the bare minimum and that is not acceptable to me, because that’s just laziness when I know he’s capable of much more. So I’m teaching him to do things in such a way he can be proud of, not just to cross them off his list. You can see it in his behavior when he tries a little harder and how proud he is of his work. It’s always teaching him persistence, so he doesn’t give up the first time he tries something and doesn’t succeed. I always tell my kids they don’t and will not be great at everything because nobody is, but they should at least give it their best shot. Does that help?

nrhatch - December 18, 2013

I get where you’re coming from, Milka. And you’re certainly not alone in encouraging and motivating your kids to push their boundaries. But I wonder if all the pressure to “do our best” and “put our best foot forward” doesn’t backfire in at least some respects.

For example, I enjoy photography, painting, cooking, playing the guitar, writing, etc. If I insisted on always doing my best, I might enjoy them less. Instead of choosing hobbies because they make me happy, I might get caught up in “competing” by comparing my efforts with others, etc..

I might also streamline my interests to do only what I’m already good at, instead of branching out to try new things.

The longer I live the more convinced I am that the goal behind all goals is happiness. Maybe if we focused on “being happy,” we would be less competitive and more cooperative . . . and more inclined to use our internal barometers to gauge our actions, rather than looking around to see who’s watching?

What Say YOU?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: