Heart of the Soul

Heart of the Soul

Joy in Not Being the Best

posted by Jodi Chapman

sudokuI love solving Sudoku puzzles. It’s one of my favorite ways to unwind on my days off. There’s something really relaxing about knowing that there is a solution, and that hopefully I’ll be able to solve it.

However, I’m not the greatest Sudoku puzzle solver that ever lived. Not even close. While I am pretty good, I’m not the best. While I can almost always solve the difficult-level puzzles, I frequently am unable to figure out the extra challenging puzzles – the top tier puzzles.

And you know what? I’m okay with that.

I’m a pretty driven person. I like to push myself and be the best that I can be at whatever I am doing. And I have accomplished a lot because of this drive. But sometimes, it’s really nice to release the expectations that I have for myself and embrace the fact that I’m not the best at something.

I know that I’m never going to be the best Sudoku puzzle solver. I know that no matter how hard I try or how many tricks I learn or how many hours I put into solving these fun puzzles, there will always be someone else who is better than I am. And I’m okay with that. Realizing this helps me enjoy the puzzles in a relaxing way. It gives me permission to ease into them rather than push through them. It keeps them fun rather than turning them into something to accomplish.

None of us are going to be the best at everything. It’s just not possible. There will be certain things that just don’t flow as easily for us. But that definitely doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do them. Just the opposite, really. These activities can still be enjoyed and cherished in a relaxing and fun way – without pressure or expectation.

It’s my hope that we can all find something in our life that we know without a doubt that we’ll never be the best at. And once we find it, to do it anyway with joy in our hearts. That’s what Sudoku is for me. It may be something completely different for you. Maybe you love playing music, but you don’t want to put into the time it would take to be a concert musician. Or maybe you love to play tennis, and you just aren’t that great at it. But it brings you joy when you hit the court. Or maybe you like to paint, but you know that you will never be an accomplished artist. And yet you continue painting because it makes you happy to do so.

If you’re driven and used to accomplishing, finding activities that you aren’t the best at can be so liberating. They can free you to simply enjoy them and relax into them. You can give yourself permission to have fun with them – knowing that you’re simply doing them for the joy they bring to you.

Striving to be the best can be wonderful – doing so allows you to accomplish tons and push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of. But constant striving can also be exhausting. And when you try to be the best in every single area of your life, you’ll most likely end up pretty resentful and always feel like you’re falling short. That’s when embracing your “never going to be the best” hobbies and interests becomes extra important. You’re giving yourself permission to take a rest from achieving and competing and striving and pressuring. You’re simply being. Simply enjoying. Simply having fun. And that feels wonderful, doesn’t it?




about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

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  • Anonymous

    I was shocked when my ten-year old son told me how much he liked Sudoku and I realised I didn’t even know the rules of how to play! I’ve never sat down and figured it out. I’m happy to be a reformed perfectionist. It’s fabulous to be able to settle into the perfectly normal place of accepting imperfections perfectly!

  • http://www.violetsanctuaryspa.com Tia Johnson (@The_VSS)

    What a perfect blog post! This is a wonderful reminder that it’s okay not to be the best in everything. I remember thinking in school that I had to be the best and if I didn’t it was the end of the world. The truth is that we just will not get the ‘A’ all the time. It’s okay to receive the ‘B’.

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