Getting the Most From What You Have

The great classical violinist Itzhak Perlman was playing the first few notes at a major concert when one of his violin strings broke. Perlman simply played the rest of that entire concert with three strings. Musicians and critics alike agreed that it was one of the finest performances ever given.

After the concert, Itzhak Perlman said, “Sometimes an artist must determine how much music he can get out of what he has left.”

We can never be responsible for a competitive outcome. We can only be responsible for our own effort and attitude.

My mentor and friend the late, great Coach John Wooden was fond of saying, “Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.” I only knew Coach Wooden during the last few years of his life. He passed away just short of his 100th birthday. In our many lengthy conversations, Coach Wooden rarely discussed basketball, preferring to talk about literature, poetry, philosophy, and life in general. When he did discuss basketball, he often talked about games his team had lost while playing their best.

No coach has ever won as many championships as John Wooden. He had several undefeated teams but realized that you can do your best and lose, and at the same time, you might play poorly and win. The only person with whom we need to compete is ourselves. We need to be better tomorrow than we are today, and get the most out of the talents and abilities we have been given.

Any competition can only have one winner, but it can have many champions. Nothing provides us with more satisfaction than simply knowing we did our best, while few things are more frustrating than realizing we didn’t give something our best effort. If an activity is not important enough to warrant your best effort, you should question whether it is something you need to be doing at all.

Performing at your best is a habit. It is dangerous, therefore, to engage in pursuits that do not require you to be at your best as it may lead to your not giving your maximum effort when it really matters. Only you will ever know when you did your best and when you didn’t. You are competing against your own potential, and when you do your best, you are always a winner regardless of the outcome.

As you go through your day today, focus your effort and attitude toward being the best you can be regardless of what anyone else does.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by e-mail at; or on Facebook at

One Response to Getting the Most From What You Have

  1. Chris Tucker July 9, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Love the inspiration, daily motivationals such as this keep the passion burning.


    Chris Tucker

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