If you want the best the world has to offer, offer the world your best.

Oprah Winfrey

Last week I listened to Oprah Winfrey’s book, What I Know for Sure. It was filled with all kinds of great ideas, advice, and stories.

The title for the book, and subsequently, the concepts in it, came from an interview she did with the late film critic, Gene Siskel. At the end of the interview, he asked her, “What do you know for sure?”

She said it was one of the few times in her life when she didn’t know what to say. His question made her speechless, unable to form an answer that would actually mean something.

But the question stayed with her ever since that moment.

And it led to her delving into her own soul, her own history to figure out what in the world she actually knew for sure. And it led to her writing the book.

At one point in the book, she writes/speaks the quote above. (She narrates the audio version of the book. I love it when authors who I know of in some realm narrate their books themselves, so I get to hear the book in their voice.)

Consider that quote — “If you want the best the world has to offer, offer the world your best.”

Who doesn’t want the best that the world has to offer?

We all want the world to bring the best things that it can bring into our lives every day. We wake up filled with the promise of a brand-new day and all that might mean.

For those whose lives are moving along well, it means the promise of something even better. For those who are struggling in life, it means the hope that things are going to change and that they will get better in some way today. No matter where we are in life, we want the best that the world has to offer.

But I love how Oprah puts this quote — We all want the best the world has to offer, but what are we willing to do to get it?

Are we willing to give our best in order to get the best that the world has to offer?

Are we willing to step out of our comfort zones in some way in order to achieve all that we want?

Are we willing to work hard each day to bring about the goals that we are seeking?

Because wanting the best the world has to offer isn’t enough. We have to give the best we have to offer if we want to get the best that the world has to offer.

Does this mean that we are guaranteed to receive it if we give it?

Not at all. It doesn’t work that way. There are no guarantees. The only guarantee you will have is the guarantee of knowing you gave your best to that endeavor.

But that’s a pretty darn good thing to have as a guarantee.

Because if you consider the definition of success by John Wooden that I have on the home page of my SlamDunk Success website and a definition I quote often — Success is a peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming — then you don’t need any more guaranteed to you in order to consider yourself successful.

“Yeah, but what about other people? How will they know if I’ve been successful or not?”

Who cares?

Why are you so worried if other people know you have been successful?

If in your heart, you know that you gave your best — you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming — isn’t that really all that matters?

We get so caught up in what other people think of us (see last week’s blog post – The Double-Edged Sword of Worrying About What Others Think) that we start comparing ourselves to others when we want to determine whether or not we were successful at something.

When you have offered the world the best you have to offer, isn’t that ultimately the best that you can do, and therefore, the most successful you can be?

Of course it is.

So quit comparing yourself to others or worrying if others will think you are successful.

Quit worrying about what the world offers you, and start offering the world what you know is the best you have to offer it.

Once you do that, whatever the world offers you back will be gravy because you will have given the world all that you can give to make it and yourself the best you both can be.

It’s the best of both worlds.

What an excellent way to live a prosperous, successful life!