Why We Fight Over The ‘best’ Things

To some extent, our culture is built around the idea that “best” is a synonym for “truly best.” What we call “best” and “worst” are really only a reflection of who owns that distinction. Who owns the distinction of “best” is God.

To some degree, our culture is built around the idea that “best” is a synonym for “truly best.” What we call “best” and “worst” are really only a reflection of who owns that distinction. Who owns the distinction of “best” is God. On a recent podcast, Dr. Phil asked me “What’s your biggest takeaway from all of this?” I answered by discussing the fact that it’s no secret that I consider myself a very “best” person (to which of course his reply was “you’re a very “best” person”) but that there’s a reason I feel the need to point things out, because that’s the key in understanding and appreciating what we’ve been made to fight over. In other words, I see my perspective (I’d call it my spirituality) as having to do with who is in charge, and therefore who truly “owns” what’s “best.”

To illustrate this point, I would quote a few choice lines from  “The Road to Character” .

The book tells the story of a man named Dr. Jack Mather. It is the story of how Jack grew up. It is also a story that contains every bit as much of the “best” in that it contains the struggle. Jack is a very successful psychiatrist, successful because he is very good at his job. He is smart, and he uses it very well. He is a family man, and he loves his wife. He is a successful businessman, but he doesn’t try to use his success to get more. He realizes that success is about what he is, instead of what he is trying to become. He finds meaning, but he doesn’t get his hopes up. He is honest with himself, but he knows he’s not the best at his job. He is kind to people, even if he doesn’t really understand them. He is honest to himself, but he knows that he’s not right. He can do things his way, but not at all the best way. He is humble, and he knows that he’s only got one more chance.

The road to character is not about finding your way to success. It is not about finding your way to true peace in life, or your way to a sense of self-fulfillment. The road to character is about finding your way through the struggle. The struggle requires you to struggle, you struggle, and, often, you are unsuccessful. Because of your failures, sometimes people don’t know you. Sometimes people don’t like you. Sometimes they will tell you that when you fail, it’s their fault, because you aren’t “all that.” But then, the next time you attempt a task, you succeed, or you do something that gets you noticed. Then the person who didn’t like you at once gets your number, and then, maybe next year, they’re gone. Or you get invited to do something that is important to a larger group of people, and you succeed. The struggle forces you to grow, that’s the whole point.

For me, my struggle in this regard is not just that I may fail at a lot of things. No, it’s about not realizing that anything I’ve achieved since college isn’t the end of the world. For me, the struggle is over not accepting that things happen, and that I am responsible for them. Most of the things I’ve achieved, I’ve done because I thought they were necessary. I thought that I was going to be a neurosurgeon, or a professional athlete, and that that was what I was “supposed” to do. When that didn’t turn out so well, I was probably very upset in my heart—and when it did, I was disappointed. But what I did next was to accept my mistakes, forgive myself for them, and find ways to improve.

I am very fortunate to have been fortunate enough to have parents who have taught me that there are no hard and fast rules, that I’m an individual, that I have to make my own way.