Today I am pondering about the notion of “the best version”. The best version of me, the best version of you, the best version of being human, etc etc etc. That’s the new saying I keep hearing, and I find myself repeating and adopting this new stance. When I was young, the slogan of choice (at least in my part of the world) was to be the best. Now, I am hearing more of, well, not the best but how about to be your best. Which makes me wonder, what is my best version? Do I even know? Does anyone?
When I say, I want to give the best of me, I hear, there is an “escape clause” built in. The door is cracked slightly for slacking. In other words, for people like me who don’t think highly of themselves or lack confidence in self, I am making room to slack off. This way, I could very well default to, “Hey that was my best version at the time”. There is already an air of resignation for failure. I know, I know, I can’t very well promise to be “the best” because there are always tons of people who are better than at whatever I do. They will write better, they will think better, they will act better, they are better. So at least prepare to give myself a break, right?
Except, there is one thought that has been on my mind ever since the last time I thought, “hey, wouldn’t be great if I can be better than my best self?” What if I don’t know my own capacity at all because I haven’t fully tested it?
Think of human history for instance. I honestly doubt we would be taking flights into the sky or diving under the water if certain people thought “let’s be our best human selves.” We weren’t meant to fly but we now are. We weren’t meant to see the bottom of the ocean, but we are. We weren’t meant to communicate through a completely wireless medium but we are. Not one of those pioneers and visionaries held themselves back by being their best selves. They broke molds and expectations. They narrate their own realities. True, a lot of people died trying to make unreal become real. A lot of people went down in flames literally and metaphorically. A lot of people never saw their inventions and imaginations come to life.
But damn. Aren’t we so lucky to have these nutters who attempted the impossibles? Every step of someone’s failure paves way for another one to build upon. Last week, I declared right here in this blog that I am genetically incapable of becoming a fitness goddess because I am a five feet tall middle age midget who have not had a role model to look up to. Shouldn’t my time be better served planning for retirement and not beginning new adventures like body building or poetry writing? Or am I just wearing the labels society put on me? The labels I put on myself are my self-limiting thoughts.
What sort of thoughts that have held us back because we can’t imagine ourselves beyond our beliefs about who we are supposed to be? Quiet the voice that shushes us with “Who do you think you are?”
We don’t know what we won’t become if we never try. As Soman Chainani said in this interview with Tim Ferriss: “Jump. Commit. Let your body do the work. Fly”
We are more than what we think we can offer. We are more than our best selves.