April 11, 2013

Being the Best

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor of Southern Writers Magazine

In 1976 Jimmy Carter was running for President of the United State and had written a book in which he told of his graduation as a naval officer and a subsequent interview with the famous Admiral Rickover. Rickover asked, “Where did you come in your class in the Naval Academy?” With pride Carter said: “Sir, I came 59th in a class of 840!”

Carter sat with expectations of praise but was surprised by Rickover with the question, “Did you do your best?” Carter thought then answered, “No, Sir, I didn’t always do my best.” With that Rickover ask, “Why not?!” The impact of that question was far reaching. Carter titled his book, Why Not the Best? It was also used as the theme of his Presidential Campaign.

I remember reading Carter’s book and asking myself, “Why not indeed?” Why not the best? David Cottrell in his book TheMagic Question reminds us what being the best means when he stated, ““The rewards for being the best as opposed to being average are heavily skewed. People want to work for the best, buy from the best, and deal with the best in almost every situation in our society. The best-selling books sell millions more copies than the average books. The best movies generate millions more dollars than 50 average movies. Likewise the rewards for being the best within your industry are enormous. Customers flock to winners. When you create an atmosphere where needs are being met, people will choose to go above and beyond to make a connection with the best.”

What must we do to become the best?  We must first decide we want to do our best and become the best. We must then determine we are willing to pay the price to be the best. NFL legend Jerry Rice said "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't." Those that are the best start earlier, work longer, learn more, communicate well and push themselves to places they may feel uncomfortable. The best are willing to pay the price because they know “the rewards for the best are heavily skewed.”

“Why not the best?” is something each of us must ask ourselves. We must search our souls and weigh the rewards against the commitment it takes to be the best. Once we have done that we may then ask ourselves, “Why not indeed?”  

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