“Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good.” – The Four Agreements
This is the last agreement and applies to all the other three, which are:
- Be Impeccable With Your Word
- Don’t Take Anything Personally (see article)
- Don’t Make Assumptions (see article)
At times it can be difficult to keep the above agreements but if you just do your best, there is no room to judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.
What does “do your best” mean? That is the heart of it, and here is my answer to that question: be inspired, care about yourself and others, focus, feel joy and sadness, express yourself, and keep to your way!
At those times when you feel excitement, when you are in love, when you are deeply engaged in trying to accomplish a mission you believe in—in all those moments and periods, you do your best. And there is no judging during those times of inspiration.
Only when we drift into an uninspired state of mind, disconnected, skeptical, wondering, do we give time to excessive self-doubt and self-criticism. So finding true inspiration in each moment is key for the fourth agreement: “Always do your best.”
One other important observation is that doing your best does not mean things such as spending the most money possible on a party or a gift, drinking the most alcohol, exercising until you drop, working the greatest number of hours humanly possible, or similar excesses. Those excesses will all lead to an imbalance and if pursued over time can threaten mental and physical health.
But instead, when we are in the right “zone,” we feel connected and nourished by ourselves and those around us; we work with others towards a common goal and share the load; we pursue our own goals with joy and also take breaks to rest and to be with people who are important to us.
I am aware of the fourth agreement as I go through my days, as I consider the following: am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? What priority in choice of words or actions will lead to the best result I can achieve? Hopefully, that awareness and effort is keeping me on a path that will be best for myself and for others.
So when your expectations of yourself and others may be too high, and your perfectionistic tendencies increase out of control, or when you want to push yourself harder to get things done, or when you want to quit and do nothing, at those times stop and ask yourself if you are truly doing your best—then relax your mind, take a few comfortable deeper breaths, and get inspired.