Just a thought: Are you getting better or is this it?

I assume it’s your desire to be the best version of you that you can be. You only have one journey through this thing called life. And only so many trips around the sun. Today you have less trips left than you have ever had before. Are you the best version of you?

To answer this question you need to ask what does the best version of you look like? Would your definition of the best version of you look any different than your family’s definition?

You want your children to grow and thrive. You want them to become the best they can be. Part of your legacy is to leave behind a generation after you that adds value to this world by making good choices and contributing to others. I believe it’s your desire for each of your children to be the best version of themself.

Baseball Hall of Famer Earl Weaver was a manager of the Baltimore Orioles for 17 years in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. He was known for not getting along with umpires. As a matter of fact, he despised them.

Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Palmer who pitched for Manager Weaver for 14 seasons said “Earl Weaver hated umpires with every fiber of his win-or-die being. He yelled at them. He screamed in their faces. He kicked dirt on them. He tore up books. He taunted and tortured them.” Mr. Weaver was ejected from a record 99 major league baseball games, including both games of a doubleheader three times.

I want to share with you one game in particular. The Baltimore Orioles had a runner on second base and the batter hit a single into the outfield. The runner rounded third and the throw to home plate and the runner arrived at the same time. The runner slid under the catcher’s tag only to be called out by the umpire.

Mr. Weaver came unglued. He turned his baseball cap backwards and sprinted out of the dugout to home plate. He got face to face just inches away from the umpire. The crowd noise died down in anticipation. They were certain Mr. Weaver was going to be thrown out of another game.

After making sure he had the umpire’s full attention, Mr. Weaver looked into his eyes and said “Are you going to get any better or is this it?” As a side note, Manager Weaver was not thrown out of that game.

So, when is the last time someone asked you if you are going to get any better or is this it? More importantly, when is the last time you asked yourself this question?

Will you be the same person a year from now as you are today? You become better by growing. You become better by adding value to the lives of others.

You become a better you by making a conscious decision to become better. It doesn’t happen by accident. Yon don’t trip and fall and suddenly you’re a better version of you. You control what happens in your mind and what happens in your mind controls what happens in your world.

Are you the best spouse you can be? Are you the best parent you’re able to be? Are you the best employee you are capable of being? Are you the best you can be spiritually in following your faith?

If the answer to these questions is “no,” what’s preventing you from excelling in each area?

I believe to be the best version of you, you need to be aware of where you fail and to grow. I like the saying, “change is mandatory, growth is optional.” I know there are constant changes occurring in your life. I don’t know if there is growth.

Do you have an accountability partner who you report to on your decisions to improve? Are you taking a class? Do you listen to motivational speakers? Do you read the Bible to grow your faith? Do you watch educational shows? Do you read parenting books? Do you listen to others and try to understand their views? Do you not take a hard day at work home? There are countless ways to be a better you.

But more importantly, do you positively impact the lives of others? Do you increase the net worth of others in the life you live? Growing or making decisions in your mind doesn’t do any good if you don’t apply what is in your mind to create action. The Good Samaritan would not be remembered today if he only had good intentions.

In our lives we move from season to season; sometimes by choice and sometimes by circumstances beyond our control. The season you are in today will change in time. For most of you, you will experience your youth, your first day at work, your settling down with another, raising children, parenting adult children, caring for your parents, retiring, and experiencing old age and so on.

I have been through most of these and the best version of Rick has changed over time, depending on what season I’m in. I’ve been a spouse for 36 years, that hasn’t changed. My children are adults now so my parenting has changed. I’ve taken on responsibilities in various organizations I’m involved in. That has changed to where I am today. I’ve worked as a lawyer for 38 years. My career hasn’t changed, but the nature of my practice has. I’ve written columns for 20 years. My writing today has evolved from when I first began writing. You get the idea.

I know I have asked a lot of questions in this column, but I can’t answer these questions for you. I can only put them on the table in front of you and hope you pick them up and address them.

My challenge to you today is to do a self assessment of who you are. What are you a success at? What are you a failure at? What is needed to improve who you are? Ask these questions of yourself. Ask these questions of your best friend. Then act on the responses.

Your time here is short. Why not excel and choose to be the best version of you that you can be? The ultimate question was asked in a heated conversation next to home plate, “Are you going to get any better or is this it?”

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.

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