Choosing Best: When Good Is Not Good Enough

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Sometimes we need to say “no” to a good idea so we can say “yes” to the best idea.  Stephen Covey puts it this way: “It’s easy to say ‘no!’ when there’s a deeper ‘yes!’ burning inside.” While that approach to both business and personal life might make sense, and we see the validity in waiting for the best, that is no easy task for those of us living in our immediate gratification culture. We often sacrifice the best on the crucible of the good. After all, no one was ever penalized for coming up and executing a good idea. But by choosing the good, we forfeit the satisfaction, exhilaration, the mountain-top view of what only the best can provide. So then why do we settle? Here are a few reasons I do it.

choosing the best

I don’t know what I want. It’s easy to say yes to a marginally good idea, business, or proposition if I don’t know what I want. If I haven’t thought through an issue or opportunity, then I can go for the good and completely miss the best.

I’m not willing to pay the price for the best. That’s perhaps the most compelling reason I face when choosing good over best. Whether it’s time, money, patience, or a combination of all of these factors, I’m too often not willing to do what it takes to get the best.

I’ve settled long enough for the good that the best now seems unattainable. Remember when you were a child and wanted to be an astronaut, a ballerina, a cowboy, or scientist?  But now a series of life choices has brought you into more of a “reality.” The aspirations of childhood have now become the bygone dreams of an adult not rooted in reality.  And the further we live with the good, the more we feel unworthy of the best. Breaking the cycle is virtually impossible and we settle for a lesser good more often.

 How do you feel about this concept? Have you seen it play out in your work or personal life?

  • I’ve seen that the good is actually a bigger enemy to my best than something like sin or laziness or apathy. It’s easy for me to get behind something I think is good, and let it consume my time and energy. But to say no to that thing in order to hold out for something better is always a challenge.

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