How To Reach Best You

I have used the #BestYou on my blog for some time now – more than a year. It’s time to look carefully at what my intended meaning is, and what it might mean for you.

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We each have capabilities and talents.
The level I am capable of attaining in some areas may not be your Best.
And, my Best in some efforts may be paltry when compared to your achievements.

Rule: Don’t compare yourself to others.

Second, there are only two acceptable comparisons:
1. With yourself from where you started;
2. Jesus to where He wants us to be.

I realize that you probably have already accumulated many accomplishments.
But let’s work through a couple exercises.

An inventory to determine where you are starting is important.
1. What are your inherent aptitudes?
Things that you had a natural liking for and easily acquired skills in?
What skills or interests did your parents model for you?
Teachers or others that were role models to you that inspired you to learn something?

What have you done with these abilities, knowledge, and skills?
What are you doing to encourage yourself to continue developing things on this list?

2. What are your ‘dream abilities’?
Maybe you have thought or said “If only I could…”
Write a list.

What have you done to pursue these abilities, knowledge, and skills?
What are you doing to encourage yourself to pursue things on this list?

3. What are your developed abilities and achievements?

You probably read through those lines without getting paper and pen and ‘doing’ the exercise.
That’s okay.
Let me stir the soup a little more.

Focus your thoughts on one category at a time and write what comes into your mind.

Categories in which you may have skills and abilities:
Mind – mental abilities – thinking – learning
Hands – manual abilities to make things and do things – touching that soothes and heals – draw – paint – sew – cook – garden – musical
Body – exercise – balance – dance – movement – rhythms

Spiritual, Creative, Academic (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral degrees)
Physical, Recreational, Musical, Artistic

Attitudes: persistence, consistency, never quit, positive outlook, encouraging, resolution

Illustration

At an early age I determined that I wanted to become a teacher.
My mother was my first teacher. I found that I learned well from her methods of instruction.
I also had two or three excellent teachers in my formal school experiences.
I applied the methods they used that were effective with me. I found that I could successfully tutor fellow students that where struggling.

I read every book on teaching that I could get my hands on. Then I applied what I had read to my classrooms.
I observed other teachers whenever possible.
I assembled ideas of my own – amalgams and hybrids of reading, listening, and trying.
I asked mentors to observe and coach me.
I built successes into my regular performances in the classroom.
On the ride home and in the quiet of working in my gardens, I reflected on the work of the day – noting successes and failures. Planning for the next time that would avoid the failure.

Repeat!
That is the operant word.
Repeat!
The key to all learning is Repetition.
Repetition is the Mother of Learning.
Mastery of the basics makes it possible for Genius to Achieve.
Whether it is manual or mental skills, they are honed through practice – Repetition.

I know that there are exceptions – savants who seem to be born with a special ability.
One of my students could tell which day of the week any date was – past or future. No practice involved.
My wife has piano lessons with a first grade boy. He is able to create original compositions. He has finger dexterity that is beyond most children his age. His musical thinking is amazing.
But he spends hours practicing in between lessons. Because he wants to do more.

Now – – –
Go back and do the 3-Part Inventory.
Put in the effort.
Be confident that you are “The Best You” right now, but you are working toward the future “Best You.”

Tomorrow will probably require some more effort so you can stay “The Best You.”
It’s an on-going effort.
Be willing to Repeat the effort daily.

Everyone has the responsibility to become their Best Self.
#BestYou

How To Make A Difference

I had planned to become a teacher.
I felt called to teach at the high school level: History, English, Spanish.
I would leave college with seccondary certification.

During my last semester of my senior year I was hired to teach in Florida.
Dream job. Or so I thought.
May came and I was informed of the teaching position I would fill.
A one-room school in Boynton Beach. Probably 8 students.
In grades 1-8.

I think I was a rather typical 21-year-old. Rather self-absorbed.

Something happened to me early in the first semester of that first year of teaching.
I discovered that my students mattered to me.
My mother had cared for other people’s children all of my growing up years. She treated them like they were her own. Give to meet their needs with little regard for her own needs.
Something she had instilled in me through her example took root in my spirit and began to grow.

I don’t recall a growing-of-the-tree named Teacher. It was like it exploded into my self, full-grown.

Forty-eight years later I left the classroom as my daily life.

Difference

What does it take to make a difference?
To meet the needs of others as a priority in my personal needs?

What if you didn’t have a mother like my mother?
What if, like me now, you are not 20-something?
What if you are not just starting out into the world?
I am now in my 70s. With another birthday this month.

I think there are some principles of making-a-difference that can be applied no matter your age.

1. Answer this question, in writing: What do you believe in? Create a list.

2. Look for a need outside yourself.
There are so many needs around us, right in our own neighborhoods.
Right in our own churches and schools.
Finding a need may result in overload.
The problem soon becomes, which one do I choose?

3. Get involved with an already-in-place opportunity.
State Farm Insurance has a program called Neighborhood Of Good.
One of their opportunities will likely fit you.

4. Be the person you wish to see in your world.
Begin where you are: You.
Set an example.

5. One Person Cared-for.
I was walking from the Garden Shop in Home Depot to the plumbing department. I had a question for an expert.
An elderly man in a motorized cart blocked my way. He was going full speed, which was a slow walk for me. I fell in behind him. He turned, saw me, and attempted to move to the side. There was no room for that.
I laughed and said, “Don’t worry! I’m in no hurry!”
We traveled that way until we came to an open area. He stopped. I came up beside him.
(Those of you who know me understand that I am not out-going.)
He remarked that items in his basket were marked one price, but the register in the garden shop had rung them up at a higher price. He was looking for a supervisor.
“My wife always hangs two fern baskets on either side of the fountain in our front yard,” he commented. He then kind of choked up and ducked his head. “Always hung,” he corrected himself. “She died in December. I just need to continue her legacy,” he said quietly.

I stayed there and talked with him (mostly listened) for a long time. “Tommy,” he introduced himself. He was lonely. After 50+ years of marriage he was unaccustomed to the condition of lonely.

I have his name and I will call him.

6. Each One Reach One.
Someone once said to me that if each person helped just one person we could reach every person in the world in a few months.
That detail is suspect.
Start with one. Look for an opportunity to make a difference in one person’t day.
Pay It Forward at the drive-thru, or the toll booth, or the coffee shop.

7. One Person Inspired
Your action may well inspire the one that you took care of to Be a Difference, too.
At work, at church, at the grocery or department store, at the restaurant, at home.
Especially At Home. Make a difference in the day of a family member. Maybe this could become a Family Adventure.

Caution: Don’t do any of this as a way to be recognized and thanked.

An Adventure like this will result in a Settled Peace within yourself. No fireworks. No applause. No awards or recognition plaques. Peace.

Is there a better reward?

Challenge

#Go.Now.Do.
#BestYou

Comments are appreciated.