when not quite your best is still good enough

I always try to do my best — those of you who have been reading me at Just Sayin’ or who have known me for a while probably already know this.

I always thought that doing my best was kind of the bare minimum. The least I could do. You know.

But sometimes I look back at something, and realize I could have done better.

Except I couldn’t, and I didn’t.

Not at the time.

And not berating myself for how I failed is the most grueling exercise I can come up with — kind of like when you’re in labor and they’re telling you not to push yet because you’re not quite dilated enough and your whole body is pushing anyway and it takes everything you have (and a lot of panting) not to.


Except, at that moment, you probably did.

I was talking once with a friend and fellow pianist about the really common and annoying situation pianists face where we arrive at our performance venue and the instrument is, shall we say, lacking. He has a saying: “It is what it is when you get there.”

I liked this quite a lot, and have adopted it for the condition of the piece itself — you practice hard, you prepare as much and as well as you can, and when it is time to perform, It is what it is when you get there.


And I have decided that this also applies to life.

You do your best, except when you can’t, and then you do the best you can do at the time, which is, in fact, your best, so there it is.

Good enough.



4 thoughts on “when not quite your best is still good enough

  1. Good philosophy. The training and prior experience really just give you extra tools to draw upon “in the moment”, to adapt to what’s in front of you right then.
    I believe the secret is remembering that your own measure is the only one that counts. Only you know if it really was your best. We’re hard enough on ourselves without letting others judge too.
    To this day, I am wrenched when I hear Alanis Morissette’s “Perfect”.

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