Try Your Best
Back when I was doing my MBA in Beijing, I went to Taiwan for a short trip and during that time, my cousin showed me a great time around Taipei. I was inspired by her generosity, perseverance, and commitment. And I had a memorable two weeks during winter break over there.
It gave me the inspiration to provide value to as many people as possible. To contribute in every little way that I can. To give back a little bit and show people that I care. To be a net positive in society today. That mentality led me to a productive next semester at Tsinghua University, where dived into events and took on challenges in a whole-hearted manner.
It wasn’t perfect, but that mentality held strong for the better part of half a year. And I went on memorable trips with my friends. I tried my best providing value. Value. That was what I tried to do from start to finish. From morning to night. All because of the experience in Taiwan, with my cousin serving as my inspiration.
I gave it my all. And my mind was what I needed to work on first and foremost. With the right mindset, you can go about leading a productive life and having a positive influence on others. So, for a long time, this mindset served me well.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my grip on that mindset of providing value. I was still trying my best, but I no longer intentionally tried to serve people nor to provide positive value in their lives - for better or worse. And honestly, I don’t know if it had much of an effect on my day-to-day life. Sometimes, I would have good days. Other times, I would have bad days.
But, I still remember the importance that mindset of value provision played on my MBA years almost a decade ago. Sometimes, I wish that I can get back to that mentality. Of providing for humanity. Of serving as a positive force in the world. Providing value in a good way. Just being a net positive.
These days, all I can do is try my best. The mindset is just one part of human life. It doesn’t make or break anything. But, it’s a start. I try to have a healthy and positive mindset wherever I go. Because your thoughts lead to your actions. So, it’s important to have sustainable, healthy, and helpful thoughts.
Another mindset that used to serve me well was the thought of being a good Toastmaster. The organization has contributed a lot to my personal development. And I owe them a debt of gratitude for cultivating my public speaking, communication, and overall leadership skills. Every time I join a Toastmasters meeting, I try to learn as much as possible given the limited time, and apply the lessons I learned to everyday life.
So, when I encounter a hardship, sometimes I’d ask myself, what would a Toastmaster do? And then, I’d proceed to think and do from there. This mindset goes thru its ups and downs as well. Sometimes, I sustain it. Sometimes, I don’t. Other times, I lose this mindset and then go back to it at a later time and date. It really depends. But, I treasure the lessons learned at Toastmasters, and I believe those lessons learned can serve me for a lifetime.
I will never forget leading the holiday special event at my local Toastmasters club. Speaking with club members. Organizing the meeting. Creating a holiday list. Giving speeches and inspirational words on the events. Meeting with my mentors. It was a holistic and practical approach that I will bring with me wherever I go.
I will never forget leading speech contests or serving as the Area Director or serving as the President of my local Toastmaster club. Those experiences will last me a lifetime, and I will cherish them until I am old. I will apply those skills (or at least try my best to) everyday in hopes that I can make a positive contribution and a net upwards impact on society. It’s these intentional mentalities that help forge a sustainable mindset in myself.
I really should approach life with these mindsets more often. Yet, sometimes, I fall back into the mindset of just doing stuff for the sake of doing it. Sometimes, my mind would become selfish and think only of myself. I can’t help it. But other times, I will try to approach things in a selfless manner. It’s a fine line. You need to take care of yourself and you need to take care of others. In order to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself first. So, there’s nothing wrong with doing simply for the sake of doing.
So, everyone has a different mindset as they go through life. Maybe one mindset works in one circumstance and another mindset works in another circumstance. There’s really a certain flow towards it, and it’s no one-size-fits-all policy. All I can do is try my best.
Yet, sometimes, I wonder if I even really need to try my “best”. What exactly does best mean anyways? Is there some arbitrary gauge out there that lets you know when you’ve reached your limit? When you’ve officially tried your best? So, even the concept of trying your best is superficial and limited at best.
But, whatever mindset you use to approach life, by all means go for it. Try your best to provide value to yourself and others. To serve as a net positive. To seek inspiration in your everyday experiences and apply them practically to the life you live. What motivates you? What helps you get up every day? What type of struggle or challenge helps you grow into a more fulfilled human being?
These are questions you need to ponder on your own. And with that, I wish you all the best of luck in the lives you individually live. Seek motivation and inspiration from the mundane. Help provide value. Take care of yourselves. And then, you can properly take care of others.