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wundayatta's avatar

Do you always do the best you can?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) December 30th, 2012

Some people always do the best they can. Others might save their best for special occasions. Still others may never feel like they need to do their best. Good enough is good enough or maybe even a half-assed job is good enough.

What is you attitude towards doing your best? Where do you think your attitude came from? Teachers? Parents? Experience? Bosses? Age? Does your attitude towards doing your best (however much of the time you do it) have any drawbacks?

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21 Answers

newtscamander's avatar

No, I don’t think I do. I am not ambitious at all, I might try to do well when what I do is new and exciting, but after a few weeks I begin to lose interest. I don’t do my best at school either.
I think this attitude derives from some kind of restlessness, and definitely the frustration I feel when I can’t simply excel at something without working hard, it always makes me think I’m daft.

Pingu's avatar

I like to think I at least try to do the best I can. Often, though, I fall short of my own mark.

tups's avatar

Most times I don’t. I am lazy by nature, so I try to pass things as easily as possible, but it doesn’t always work out well. I worry a lot, so it’s not easy. I’m not sure how to know if I do the best I can. How do I know what is the best?

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes. In most things I am the quintessential over achiever. I’ve thought about why this is and I suspect part of it is I am unconsciously seeking my father’s (who is dead!) approval. Or maybe I am just simply an over achiever. I am also not a detail person so if I return to a Fluther post I often find an error I missed and then it bugs me until I tell myself to get over it. Thankfully I am not into self-flagellation, so I don’t punish myself for things that don’t turn out quite as I wanted for too long.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I intentionally refrain from doing my best in many areas, I have learned over the years that it can be a bit overkill.

I am quite capable of putting together very solid arguments, backed up with evidence, sources and all that good stuff. However, if you debate you best on a site like Fluther, people just wont read it all.

Likewise the same applies to many things. If I have to weld some metal together, and polish up the welds a little, maybe it is not necessary to polish it so much that you can see your face in the reflection, if the part is going some place no one will ever see it.

It goes on and on with all kinds of things, from work all the way to dating. Sure you could hire a hot air balloon, get champagne, and go all out on a date, but you would likely end up labeled some kind of desperate freak, you could do all the overtime, and do a great job at work, but could get labeled a boot licker.

wundayatta's avatar

@Pingu I’d really be interested if you could talk about why you try to do the best you can all the time.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Let me put it like this:

I do the best I can at any particular given moment.

There are times I have more energy or whatnot to put into any given task, and I do. There are times I’m tired, so I expend less energy.

And there are times when I reserve my energy knowing that I want to be extra good at a given project. Do I hold back on some projects in order to excel at others? No, I don’t think so. I believe that falls into the doing the best I can at that particular moment.

JenniferP's avatar

I always do the best I can at work. In my personal life, I do sometimes but not always.

Pingu's avatar

@wundayatta in my degree program, if I want to be more than just mediocre, I must try as hard as I can. I couldn’t get away with half-assing any of it because it’s really hard (for me). In my GE subjects, which tend to be more writing intensive, I could get away with half-assing, but since I like to be able to take pride in my writing, I generally don’t.

In other areas of my life like my social and personal life, I also try hard because I want to improve myself. For example, I used to have a really hard time being in a social setting. It took real effort to be able to get to the point where I could walk into a room full of people and not want to run to the hills. When I exercise, I try to push myself to my limits. Whether that means I try to make a personal record or just finish out a fifteen minute run depends on how well I’m feeling that day. That is what I mean by doing my best; always making an effort in what I’m doing.

CWOTUS's avatar

I question your first premise: I don’t think it is possible for humans to do “the best they can” every time. It’s a standard that would seem to me to be almost literally “not possible”.

I cleared snow from two driveways today, and I did a pretty good job. But for me to do “the best I could do” I would still be working on a few random patches of snow that “could be” removed from the first driveway.

Everything I do – literally, every thing – can be done better.

I do the best I can to satisfy my own relatively high standards “most of the time”.

I try to maintain a philosophy of “full measure or none at all”, but that’s pretty hard to live up to.

gondwanalon's avatar

My thinking is that it in not important or practical to do your best at all times. It is only important to do your best during those times when it is important to do so. It is critical that I do my absolute best when I’m at work. However when I work at home on projects and yard work I tend to slack-off, round-up or down and extrapolate to get-her-done. Also when I workout physically, I’m now being pressured by my cardiologist to stop being competitive and to keep my heart rate under 150 bpm. That is a tough one but I kind of like living so I’ll have to slack off in this area as well.

burntbonez's avatar

I only do my best at things I really care about, and even then, I’m not so sure. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I know what my best is. Mostly, I do what is good enough so that people will think well of me, but even then, I may be overshooting the mark. It’s been a long time since I’ve been criticized at work.

I guess I’m not sure what the point it. Do I have to do my best? Why? It’s not like I’m trying to get on television or become famous. I always do a good job compared to most people. It’s pretty easy for me. I don’t have to try hard. I’m just good at what I do. There’s no need to do my best. So I prefer to get things done, off my desk. I’m very efficient. No complaints. Leaves me more time to myself.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Generally, yes.

hearkat's avatar

I have, for as long as I can remember, taken to heart the idiom: “Do something right or don’t do it at all”... and I usually choose to not do it at all because I am lazy and don’t want to put in all the effort, but don’t see the point in doing something half-assed. It’s like the flip side of the perfectionism coin, I guess.

Mariah's avatar

Nope! I used to work on the edge of my limits, but it made me ill and unhappy. Now I seek balance among all facets of my life. That means no given thing in my life is getting full attention, but everything’s getting enough attention.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Definitely not. I generally don’t put all my efforts into things unless I actually care about them.

JLeslie's avatar


At work it is very important to me to feel like I have done a great job. Will exhaust myself to excell. As I get older I choose jobs that will not push me to my limits the majority of the time so I don’t have to work so hard. Does that mean I am not doing my best? (I feel I should mention I am not currently working, although I do volunteer as the social chairperson of a club we are in which involves maintaining a website, facebook group and planning 1–2 events a month.) My last few years of work were part time, because I didn’t want to work very hard.

At home I fail pretty much at keeping things in order and having all meals prepared. I could do a much better job probably with not much more effort. I wish I would do it. Fail is probably too harsh, I would say I get a B-.

At pursuing dreams and goals I get a D.

Planning trips I get an A and we travel quite a bit for my husband’s hobby.

Sunny2's avatar

My tendency is to try to do things perfectly, but it depends on how much energy I have at the moment. Housekeeping is something that often falls by the wayside. I’m not a ‘good enough’ kind of person by nature, but may have to settle for that and not scold myself. Wishes won’t make it true.

augustlan's avatar

When I really care about something, yes. If it’s not that important to me (or to someone I care about) in the big scheme of things, no.

jrpowell's avatar

I don’t. I’m fine with “good enough”. I have a lot of things I am working on so I let the less important thing be good enough so I can do a better job at things I care about.

ucme's avatar

Yes do I, espeshily wiv spelinn & kolurin in wiv kreyonns.

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