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It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.
I never think I’ve done my best.
Even when I probably have, I always look at it and think of ways I could have done better. This is probably not good for my sanity, but it’s what I do.
If I paint the bathroom and there’s one spot that could have used a little more putty and sanding, that’s what I look at when I’m sitting in there.
If I could have delivered a line in a better way, that’s the line that itches at me when I’m watching my film.
I know when we are working (on anything) there are many factors that could cause us to not do our best. And I have to remind myself that even if I can do better than I did, I did the best that I could with what I was working with at the time. With my knowledge, my time, my ability, my circumstances, etc.
I don’t think you can ever do your best. Doing your best is a process of trying to do your best.
Townes Van Zandt
And when we’re working with others, we have to remember that the same is true for them. Although there’s no way to really know if they’re doing their best, only they know that. But the standards we set for ourselves are not the same standards others have for themselves. It can even come down to a matter of taste, in some instances. With all else being equal, what looks or sounds off to us may please someone else.
But I suppose the thing that gets me is knowing when to be satisfied with the job you’ve done. When to say “I couldn’t have done any better, this is my best, I did a great job.” For some tasks it’s easy to know when this is true. But for so many others, I feel like it may never be true, because we’re always in the process of learning and improving with every mission we complete. Let’s not be vague, I’m talking about acting and film making here. I have done by best under every circumstance I’m put in, but I always expect more of myself. I know I have not reached my potential. It will still be years before I will even come close, and everything along the way is practice. I believe when you stop learning, you stop growing, and I look at everything I make in terms of what I’ve learned from the process and how I would do it differently or better had I the chance to do it again. Then I bring the knowledge from that experience to my next project.
You are doing your best only when you are trying to improve what you are doing.
There are some times when “good enough” is good enough. It just depends on your goals and expectations. And limitations. The dinner I make in my cramped little studio with one hotplate and a frying pan is good enough because it’s still edible, but it’s not my best.
This may be a slight tangent, but I also wonder about giving or getting praise for doing a good job. Personally, in regards to acting, I feel like it’s my JOB to do a good job. It’s my job to create a convincing performance. It’s my job to show up and be pleasant to work with. It should be expected of me. I’m not going the extra mile by doing an outstanding job. If I’m doing jobs that are not required of me, THAT is going above and beyond and I’ll accept a pat on the back. 😀 But my job is not to be average, it’s not to be OK, it’s to do my BEST. I’m just speaking about acting here, because not all jobs are equal.
Advancement only comes with habitually doing more than you are asked.
Gary Ryan Blair
I do believe in going the extra mile. I think being helpful and useful when you can be helpful and useful is great. Going out of your way, or doing something you don’t have to do but know would make someone else’s job (or day) easier is a wonderful thing. It’s good for everyone. It makes you a better person, people like you more, they want to work with you, and sometimes they will go out of their way for you when you need it, in return. But you have to do it with a spirit of service, with no expectations of anything in return.
So anyway, those are my thoughts today on doing my best, and doing my job. My job is to do my best, and to do my best is to always strive to be better.
What do you think?