Please note: This is a post that’s back by popular demand. The original post is here
I came across this essay and poem in a Project Gutenberg ebook entitled It Can Be Done compiled by Joseph Morris. Here are his thoughts on being the best of whatever you are:
We all dream of great deeds and high positions, away from the pettiness and humdrum of ordinary life. Yet success is not occupying a lofty place or doing conspicuous work; it is being the best that is in you. Rattling around in too big a job is much worse than filling a small one to overflowing. Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe-dreams of the one you would like to lead. Make the most of what you have and are. Perhaps your trivial, immediate task is your one sure way of proving your mettle. Do the thing near at hand, and great things will come to your hand to be done. ~Joseph Morris
There’s a line in Joseph Morris’ essay that I think is perhaps even more true now than it was one hundred years ago when he penned it: Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe-dreams of the one you would like to lead.
Every time we turn around we are bombarded with the notions that we should have had a different life. We’re told—and we believe—we should have had another life, something much different than the one we are now living; it’s because of our gender, body shape, size, skin color, belief system, last name, where we grew up, etc., that we don’t have it.
It may be true that Life seems to deal more harshly with some people than it does with others. It’s true, too, that unfair and unjust events happen to us all diverting us from something else.
We’re right here, though, and it’s right now. We aren’t in that other life or living in another time.
Nothing we can do can restore something that we never had. Stop thinking and pining over the life the opportunities we should have or could have or would have had if only things turned out differently.
Let’s look at where we are right now and, to the very best of our abilities, let’s do what we can to help ourselves into a better life and a brighter future.
Now here’s the poem that I hope will help us all remember to put forth our best efforts because we can never tell where one small, seemingly insignificant, thing is going to lead. It may turn out to be the start of our Big Break!
BE THE BEST OF WHATEVER YOU ARE
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley–but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass–
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail–
Be the best of whatever you are!
Enjoy the poem and let me know what you think of it in the comments below! Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,