Is that the best you can do?

I have this little premise that I live by and it's this: everyone is always doing the best job they can, with all things.

I am fairly positive you can immediately pinpoint at least three people in your life who you believe are not doing their best. I am also fairly positive you can fully articulate the reasons why you believe that. You may be right. You may be wrong. But, honestly, you can never prove whether you are right or wrong. The reason why you can't prove this is because you can never know or understand the lineage of anyone's life other than your own. Every judgement you make about someone is based upon your expectation of how that person should be. It's your expectation. It's your hope. Meanwhile, they are living their life which has evolved from number of experiences that even they can sometimes not clearly recall. Regardless, they are shaped into who they are by these moments.

While it's good to expect the best of people and it's good to hope for more, it's even better to expect the best of yourself and hold hope in your heart that you will always have the energy and courage to do more. Some days you will. Some days you won't. You're human.

It is often difficult to understand your own life because (again) it involves countless interactions with people you know nothing about (even those with whom you are so close).

When I think about things that I have done in my life that I am not proud of, I ask myself: did I think I was doing the best that I could? The answer is always: yes. At the time, in those moments, I always thought I was making a good choice. Even the biggest mistakes presented themselves (notice the plural) as the best solutions. It's never until after-the-fact that I realize maybe I was not putting my best effort forward, maybe I was totally out to lunch, maybe for a few brief moments I was completely brain dead.

What I've come to realize is that we all need to put down the judgement stick and pick up the talking stick. The way to help others do better is not to cast a over-reaching net that assumes every human is lazy, uninvolved, un-attentive, nasty, wrong. The way to help others is to do the best job you can and to not be afraid to ask, "Is that the best you can do?" 

It doesn't help to become a jerk in the process. If you're so willing to assume the worst, try to assume the best for a little while. When you feel like you're not seeing it, ask why. I think the answer you receive will surprise you, soften you and help you help someone else in ways that you might not imagine possible.