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Don't Settle for Less Than Your Best

Story ID:5695
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Tantallon Nova Scotia Canada
Year:1995
Person:All of Us
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Many years ago, my first wife and I decided to add an addition to our house.
We had contractors to the bulk of the work, while I did the smaller jobs. I did all the
siding on both the old and new sections of our house. I installed 1000 square feet of
parquet flooring and glued tiles to the floor in front of the fireplace. The older part of the
house was done with paneling. I replaced it with sheetrock and did the crack filling as
well. I sanded wood, painted walls, and installed moldings and baseboards. In the new
bathroom, I cut and glued Formica.

It took more than a year to complete. I wasn’t a carpenter or a builder. I didn’t
have a clue how to do any of it, however, there were how-to books to study and friends
who gave advice.

I made many mistakes. Above the kitchen cabinets was a portion of sheetrock, I
couldn’t reach with my drill. A section of it dipped down from the piece beside it. I
cracked-filled the gap as best as I could, but it was visible to anyone with a keen eye.

There were places around the doors and windows where the moldings didn’t meet
evenly, because I cut a piece a fraction of a inch too short. It was the same with the
baseboards and the parquet flooring.

“Michael!” Georgia scolded, “You made a mess of that!”

“Hun, it’s in the corner! Who’s going to notice? If someone sees that, then they’re
too nosey.” I sighed and reassured her, “No one will notice!”

Five years later, I lived in a different city. Georgia was back home, trying to sell
the house. Potential buyers came. They noticed the mistakes and walked away. My
mistakes were small, but they saw every one of them.

I’m not alone. How many of us don’t do the best job we can, because we think no
one will notice? We make mistakes. We can’t hide them, but we can fix them. One day
we’ll be judged, and we’ll be ashamed to admit, we didn’t do our best.

Are you settling for less than your best?

Michael T. Smith