An ex-Los Angeles Dodger, and mentor of mine left me with a quote when I was 12 years old. It was his favorite quote and soon became the words I would live by. You may have heard it or versions of it. It reads:
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until the good becomes the better, and the better becomes the best.”
This quote was scribbled under the bill of every one of my baseball hats as a youth, and was inscribed on the inside of my belt all the way up through my last game with the San Diego Padres. I lived by these words. It was close to me every single day as I pursued the audacious goal of becoming a Major League Baseball player. I knew how crazy of a dream that was, and how difficult and painful becoming the best could be. Still, the words helped me push forward.
It was and, in many ways, still is my creed. This nursery rhyme-like quote is packed with a message at the foundation of nearly every great feat, whether it is in the world of business, sport, or otherwise.
Constant, unrelenting improvement is a choice, and a lifetime commitment. In Japanese, the word “Kaizen” embodies the concept perfectly. This desire to improve works both in relation to others and to ourselves.
My favorite part of the quote isn’t the end goal reference of the “best,” but it is the commitment to “never let it rest.” It never ends, but still we move along in search of our best self.
You may be good, but are you willing to get better? Do you have the courage to be your best? Remember these words. Use them.