“Do The Next Best Thing”
Posted: October 21, 2015
You know the old saying, “When the student is ready, the master will appear?” I must be ready, because I keep hearing great Max Lucado quotes. Last month I wrote about his “Belief leads to behavior” message.
This week, I just happened to tune in and catch a show where he was talking about finding hope during a storm. While everything he said was packed with meaning, one statement just jumped out at me. Even when there wasn’t much you could do, “Just do the next best thing.”
That really caught my ear. If you’re not sure what to do, “Just do the next best thing.” If you’re not sure what you can do, “Do the next best thing.”
It seemed to me that there were several important points worth chewing on there. The first idea was based on the verb “Do.” This is an action step, and action often get things got going.
I’ve noticed that if I’ve been having a bad day (or two), and this may sound silly, sometimes it helps to clean or organize something. You might not be able to control your circumstances, but imposing a little order on things may give you the sense that you can at least accomplish something.
The second thing that jumped out at me was the word “next.” Lucado didn’t say, “complete your list of action steps” or “do that big thing you’re struggling with.” He said to do the “next” best thing. Sometimes we get overwhelmed with the details.
What’s next on your to-do list? What needs doing now? It might be the next thing on the list; it might not be. Sometimes other things come up.
It might not even seem to be related. It might not even BE related. But maybe you need to take care of that thing to take it off your plate. Get it out of your way; it might give you some breathing room, or allow you to put your focus where it needs to be.
When you’re juggling a a whole handful of balls, it’s tough keeping all of them in the air. But when you start taking one at a time and setting them down, the whole process seems to get a little easier. You give yourself margin.
Finally, Lucado says to do the next “best” thing. It’s rare when you don’t have at least a couple of options. I think the key is to figure out which option is the best one at the time. It might not even be all that great, but it’s better than the other one.
Once in awhile the choices are even pretty bad. This reminds me of another saying, “It was the lesser of two evils.” It would be much better to do NO evil, but sometimes you have no choice.
Like the doctor that recommends removing a gangrenous lower leg. It’s horrible, but without the procedure, the person is going to die. So they do the hard thing and take the leg.
That doesn’t mean your choices are always bad ones. Sometimes the difficulty is in picking the best of two good options. Now that’s a good problem to have. When this occurs, thank God for the opportunities, and pray for wisdom that you make the best choice!
Max Lucado’s suggestion seems to apply to just about any situation. Whether times are tough and you’re barely hanging on, or you’re overwhelmed with critical choices you need to make, do yourself a favor, and “Do the next best thing.”