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Some Kidding Aside – Deliver Your Best

In Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is lead by the Ghost of Christmas Future to a cemetery and forced to look upon his own gravestone. The inscription had only his name, and yet it was a symbol of terror and despair for Scrooge, the physical manifestation of a life misspent.

Suppose for a moment that you and I were to take a similar trip to the future and look down at your gravestone. What do you imagine the epitaph might read? Will we find words that hail you as victorious and reflect your value to your community?

  • “Here lies a noble father, faithful friend, and beloved companion.”cemetery-842991_1920
  • “Here lies a woman who tirelessly gave of herself to help those less fortunate so that their suffering might be eased.”
  • “Here lies one who treated this life as a gift and lived each moment to the fullest.”

Or will the words be laced with mediocrity?

  • “Here lies the body of Bill Jones. He lived. He died.”
  • “Here lies the body of Samantha Crawford. We, who were called her friends, didn’t know her passions, abilities, or dreams, if indeed she possessed any at all.”
  • “Here lies Edward Martin who worked as little as possible, doing the least he could while still drawing a paycheck. He cared for few, liked less, and helped none.”

How will your gravestone read? You might say that it won’t matter to you after you’re gone, but fortunately, I am asking while you are still alive. So, what would yours say?

Maybe that’s too morbid of an exercise for you, so let me ask you in another way. Let’s say Time magazine has decided that this year they are selecting their Person of the Year from 100 randomly selected individuals. Your name has been chosen, and a public relations representative has contacted you to create a one-sheet summation of your life.

What kind of picture of your life would emerge? Would the PR rep come away with a picture of a vibrant, energized individual who is contributing to his workplace, family, and community in a meaningful and passionate way? Or will the piece read something like a grocery list?

He goes to work each day, does a little bit, and then clocks out and goes to lunch. He punches back in, works a bit more, and then goes home for the day where he’ll eat supper and then watch television for the rest of the night. The next day he will get up and do the exact same thing. His work is adequate but uninspired. His relationships are taken for granted, and his health is abused with bad habits and a poor lifestyle.

Nobody I know would want those words used to describe them. No one wants to be defined as mediocre. If success is defined as fulfilling one’s potential, then you must endeavor to be your best if you are to be successful.

Today, will you choose to just get by doing the least and being the least that you are capable of being, or will you choose to deliver your best to those with whom you live and work?

© 2016 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site at or contact him via e-mail at

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