“Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.” ~don Miguel Ruiz
The fourth agreement in don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements is to Always Do Your Best. It implies taking action with the first three agreements discussed in earlier blog posts. One of the key lessons in this agreement is that your best will change from hour to hour and day to day. When you are tired or ill your best will not be the same as when you are healthy and energetic. Whatever is going on in your life, you must always do your best, no more and no less. Don Miguel tells us that “when you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. If you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets.”
In following this agreement, I had to learn to concentrate on the “no more” part of the concept. I grew up believing that to be successful I had to give 110 percent – doing my best meant going above and beyond. I have learned that I just need to do my best and I don’t have to be “superwoman” and go beyond. Going above and beyond did not lead to balance in my life - I was exhausted because I ran from task to task; I was afraid that I was not doing enough. I was tired because I was expending more energy than was necessary. I have high expectations for myself, but I have learned that I just need to do my best at each moment in time. Now I give my best, no more and no less. I’ve slowed down, and I take the time to savor my work and my relationships.
Another key concept in this agreement is that you do your best because you love what you are doing and not expecting anything in return. Some people only take action because they are expecting a reward. You should take action and do your best for the sake of doing the task without expecting a reward. I have found that the best rewards come when I am not attached to expecting a reward. Life is so much more enjoyable! As I continue to follow all four agreements, my best continues to get better.
How does doing your best change throughout your day and week?
How can you do your best – no more and no less?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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