I truly love this quote and it’s relevance can’t be underestimated or undervalued. I’ve never been a big fan of the saying (often as some sort of comfort to soothe failed engagements): “at least you tried your best.” I think the matter of “trying” is too often confused with the level of “activity”, not the integrity behind the efforts employed. I mean we confuse victory as the precise assessment of what we put forth when we know in certain instances, being victorious may not call upon our best depending on the quality of our competitors.
So how do we know if we “brought our best” to a challenge. Again, sometimes it’s more difficult to ascertain when the result is triumph but at least we know that our “best” was superlatively better than whoever we faced and our sense of satisfaction, or lack thereof, will rest on our view of what we did to prove it.
But the true measure of what we brought to the game is revealed through our losses (and they should be few) by the appearance of both combatants and utter confusion by the casual observers about who got the worst in their warfare. By that evaluation, we can be assured that our “best” may have fallen short, at least this time, but it was good enough to let our challenger know he was one punch away from being on the receiving end of defeat and wondering if it’s worth another engagement in a rematch.
So “trying your best” is certainly a good starting point but it’s an empty effort if you leave behind the characteristics and quality of the best within you, both intrinsically and what has been exquisitely developed through your work over time, that must be brought when the moment calls for its superb application. Simply put, you’ll know if you’ve “brought your best” when afterwords there’s not one element of your mental, emotional, and physically being untapped leaving you silently applauding yourself, not only for the result achieved but also by how little you saved of yourself to capture it so you’re at the point of being almost incapable of standing upright to enjoy it!