It was the year 1994.
I was studying in 11th standard in Shri Kund Kund Jain inter college, Khatuali, Lakshminagar (Muzaffarnagar) in Western Uttar Pradesh.
The principal Shri Pritam Singh Ji was a unique man. Almost daily, after the morning assembly, he used to send all the classes to their classrooms except 11th and 12th. Then he used to start his favourite speech:
“If you want success, you need to do your best work. You are here to study. That’s the sole reason for you being here. But I am not asking you to study. I am asking you to do your best. Whatever it is that you want to do, or are doing at present, do it the best you can.”
“If you want to study, then focus on your studies seriously. Devote your days and nights to studies only. Study for 8 – 9 hours daily.”
It’s Not Important What You Do, But How You Do It
When you focus your energy on one task and one task only, you become an expert in that field. You become a “King.” And that’s what I want you to be – A King.”
“If you have no interest in studies, that’s fine! Maybe you wanted to become a gangster, that’s fine too. But don’t become “just another gangster.” Become one that has a bounty on his head.”
“In case you want to rob a bank, go for it, but don’t settle for being a “just another bank robber.” Become a robber that public remembers for a long time, just like we had the bank robbery years ago – The Infamous bank robbery of 17 lakhs.”
“There are greater chances for you to succeed if you do your best work.”
“I am not asking you to become an IAS, or a thug, or a bank robber, or to top the state in 12th boards exams. I am asking you to do your best work, no matter what you do. That’s my mantra of success. It’s by doing your best work that you can achieve your goals in life, taste success, and can make your dreams come true.”
At the time I used to laugh at his speeches. But later, I understood the real meaning behind his apparently “irresponsible” behaviour. And since then, I have a lot of respect for him. Of course, I am not encouraging anybody to become a bank robber or a dacoit 🙂 but his words are as relevant today as they were years ago.
Do Your Best Work
The point is not much about what you do, but how you do it. No matter how seemingly small or insignificant work you’re assigned, you can shine if you do your best job.
Most of the times we’re afraid of giving our best. We hold ourselves back because of the fear of failure. We also hold ourselves back at times because we don’t want to succeed (though unconsciously). It may sound contradictory, but it is true.
Most of the times you don’t do your best work because you’re afraid of success.
If you look inside, you’ll find out that you’re not ready to handle success yet. You fear success because you don’t want to take responsibility for your actions and their results. But if you are to grow personally and professionally, then you must move past both the fear of failure and fear of success. And you can if you do your best work. Every single time. Day in and day out.
How do you know if you’ve done your best? You’ll have a kind of satisfaction after the work is complete.
After you’ve finished that college assignment, after you’ve prepared that dish, after you’ve made that presentation, etc. You’ll know in your heart that you’ve succeeded in doing your best.
When Our Hearts Told Us, “You Didn’t Do Your Best”
I had to present a live radio show on FM gold channel along with a female radio jockey back in 2004.
As soon the show began, we were in full swing. We were trying our best, but then some glitches and unexpected things happened, and we both lost interest.
By the time half the show was over, we were passing the time – presenting the show for the sake of it.
The show got over, and we went to the FM Gold section. Our mentor Mr Vijay Deepak Chhibber commented “Wow! Today’s show was quite good. Great job!” We looked at each other in surprise. “Was that good?” I asked her, and she said, “I don’t know why is he saying so. It’s beyond my reasoning; I had a feeling during the show that we were not giving our best. We could’ve done better.”
It happens. Sometimes people praise your work. They say it was one of your best. But your heart doesn’t deceive you. It pinpoints that you hold yourself back out there, that you didn’t do your best work.
The criterion is not about getting social validation, but rather validation from your own heart. Your heart never fails you. If you’ve done your best, you’d know it. And if you haven’t, you’ll know that too.
Do Your Best and Forget the Rest
I agree with our Principal Shri Pritam Singh Ji – If you want success, work hard. Do your best work. That way you can become a king in whatever you do. I don’t entirely agree with the last part though. It’s not in your control to become a king. But you can surely control how you spend your time: What you do with your life, the opportunities you have, the chances you get – everything is up to you. I want to add one more thing – forget the rest. So now it would be “Do your best and forget the rest.”
Why am I saying this? Because you can:
Do your best work by writing your best, but you cannot control the outcome of the writing contest.
Drive a vehicle to the best of your driving skills, but you cannot control the traffic.
Study hard for exams, but you cannot manipulate the result.
There are things you cannot control. And it’s no use sulking over them. Complaining gets you nowhere. It only depletes your energy, kills your motivation and wastes your time like anything.
Remember: You cannot control the time. You cannot ask it to stop for you. But you can surely control how you utilise it. You can spend time on social media like Facebook or Twitter, or you can spend time studying hard for your next semester. That’s entirely in your hands.
Let Me Give You My Example
I have a busy family life. I need to drop my wife off at the metro station each morning, and then I am off to drop my children off at school. After that, I visit the gym. Also, I am expected to deliver my voice-over recordings on time. And I love to write articles for my blog. I could say, “I have so many responsibilities to take care of, how could I possibly write articles. Where’s the time?”
And I used to say that to myself for quite some years, but recently, after reading this brilliant article by Steve Pavlina, I started asking myself, “Is this the best I can do with my life?”
I realised that I was making a fool of myself by not writing articles for my blog regularly. Since I was short on the content, I once had to discontinue publishing on this blog. I didn’t feel motivated enough to create new content. I had taken a break of about four months and did not publish articles during that period. The rankings of this blog dropped like crazy.
Now I know it’s not what time does to me, it’s what I do with the time. I still get phone calls when I am writing. I cannot control who phones me or when, but I can control whose call I take and at what time. Whenever I sit to write, I put my phone on “Do not disturb” mode. That way, only the most essential calls can make through.
Do your best work. Don’t worry about the result. If you do your best, the results will take care of themselves.
Figure out one area of your life today where you had been assuming that you’re doing your best, but in reality, you were passing the time. Find out what needs to change for you to do your best work. And then do it.
How to Become the Best in Your Field
Just the other day, after much procrastination (almost 5-6 years), I went to my dentist. (Who is not scared of that dreaded equipment used to dig teeth?)
Reason to visit him? One of the cavities with a ‘filling’ was giving trouble. I had been avoiding it, but when it became unbearable, ultimately, I had to go.
He is an ‘expensive’ dentist. He charges a little extra compared to other dentists in the vicinity. And for a moment, to save myself some money, I had thought of visiting some other dentist this time.
But, I went to him only, because his work is superb. He is the best there is. He focuses on quality and not quantity, and you realise this the very first time you visit him.
No matter how many patients are in the lounge, no matter how hurried you are, no matter what, he rarely shows any favouritism. Don’t have time? Go home, and come back another time when you do.
But, once you are in, you are the focus of all his attention. He talks to you, understands your situation, and does everything needed. You need to be prepared to keep your mouth open, really wide open during the treatment, and every single minute you spend getting treated by him is worth your time and money.
Since he focuses on quality, people come, sit, and wait for long hours. Yes, they do talk to each other, and also, sometimes complain about the time he spends on his patients. But, once get treated by him, they rarely visit any other dentist. Because somewhere in their heart they know, that they too, will get treated like the current patient in the chair, time and again.
That’s his secret. He makes people feel important.
Does a College Degree Make You a Deserving Candidate?
Suppose a highly reputable company has some vacancies. Being a high-performance firm, it needs people who are highly skilled; possess excellent communication skills, and has a high degree of integrity.
Only a select few will be able to enter that company as employees; rest will have to wonder why they couldn’t make it. And they will whine about the lack of transparency in the selection process, politics and money game, that, according to them, maybe a factor behind why some people got selected, and some didn’t.
If you are dying to be a part of an “A” grade company, then you should remember that that company too, is looking for “A” grade skilled people.
Because the company is under pressure to exceed people’s expectations – people expect the company to provide the best product(s) and service(s). If the company fails to accomplish that, it’ll face a hard time staying in business.
Let’s Take An Example of a Smartphone
When you go to the market to buy a smartphone, you always try to get the best deal, the best value for your money.
Some years ago, you had only one or two choices when it came to mobile phones. After some time, the scenario changed, more and more new companies entered the market and tried hard to capture their market share.
If there are lots of companies trying hard, who will win?
The company that delivers the best quality at the best price.
Today, more and more consumers are demanding only ‘The Best” products at the best price possible. And to cater to their demands, companies need “The Best” people to deliver “The Best.”
Things are changing. You cannot write your future with a pen from the past. You need a new, more positive approach to flourish in today’s world. If you want to succeed and prosper in your field, then there’s a hard question for you: Ask yourself – Am I The Best in my area? If not, then what am I doing about it?