What Brings Out Your Best… or Worst?


If you are not exposing yourself to the people who bring out your best, and you’re not using the things that bring out your best; by definition, you are operating at a diminished capacity. 

You are not fulfilling your potential, and there’s an opportunity cost that comes along with that.

Now… you can do the very best that you can within a circumstance in which the best of you is not being brought out.

And doing your very best, despite unfavorable circumstances still seems to be preferable to the alternative, which is succumbing to the disadvantages. And just taking it to the chin.

But if you proactively seek to surround yourself by that which brings out your best, then you will automatically up-level your capacity. To contribute and to create, to develop skills, and to create new competencies. 

And the competencies that you have already accrued can be better expressed. 

And the difference there is not slight. It’s fairly significant:

Even if you stopped developing new skills, but you were using things or hanging out with people, exposing yourself to that which brings out your best… Suddenly all of the skills that you have accrued can be used in a way that you’ve never used them before. 

You’ll be more competent at using your competencies. 

You’ll be better able to deploy your skills at will and make something that’s of more value. Perhaps not just to yourself, but to the world. Or to the part of the world that you end up sharing your value with.

One of the first things that you can do to increase your frequency of exposure to that which brings out your best is to decrease your frequency of exposure to that which brings out your worst. 

In the subtracting of that which brings out your worst, there’s automatically a gap that’s created that needs to be filled. 

And with any luck, the gap that’s created will be filled by that which brings out your best or something that’s closer and moving in that direction than that which brings out your worst. 

So having a sensitivity to how things are affecting you in your everyday life––how things are affecting you, how food is affecting you, how, how people are affecting you, how this sort of information that you’re exposing yourself to the platforms that you use, the technology that you use, the drugs that you indulge in, the junk food that you turn to in a moment in which you’re seeking comfort to deal with the intolerability of the tedium of day to day life. 

Cultivate a sensitivity to these sorts of things and pay attention to your reactions and responses to that which you intake that which you imbibe, that which you ingest, that which you see and experience. 

And then just start to take notice of it. 

I use this scale called

Virulent, Vapid and Valuable

So there are things that are virulent, meaning things that are toxic.

They cause harm. And the harm is fairly blatant and obvious. 

Then there are things that are vapid.

Where they leave you more or less the same. There’s no noticeable difference. There is always the opportunity cost. You are wasting a particular moment that could have been valuable. 

You get to preserve the status quo. If you’re happy with the status quo, maybe vapidity is not such a bad thing. If you’re dissatisfied with the status quo and rapidity is nearly virulence. 

And then there’s valuable. 

Valuable actions, activities, ingestions. And if you increase the amount of valuable activities, actions, ingestions, and indulgences, you will naturally decrease the vapid and virulent. 

And you don’t have to take it that far. And think about it that particularly. I think it’s really useful. It’s pretty simple.

You could think of it as a scale of one to three. If it’s a one that it’s Virulent, if it’s a two it’s Vapid, if it’s at three,  then it’s Valuable. 

But either way, making it a priority to pay attention and become more sensitive to that which brings out your worst and that which brings out your best…

If you don’t like the extremes of best and worst — cause you could overanalyze the living hell out of those two terms and, you know, get nowhere — you could just think: 

That which makes you better.  That which makes you worse. 

Or that which makes you stronger. Or that which makes you weaker. 

That which brings out the good in you. That which brings out the not-so-good in you. 

You can think of it in different ways, but you’re just, you’re sliding  either gradually or incrementally in the direction that seems to bring out the sort of person that you aspire to be, that acts in the way that you want to act, and that creates the sort of things that you want to create… Or otherwise. 

And if you keep it binary like that, it can be fairly simple to cultivate a sensitivity to it. 

So when you ingest a certain food, you can just pay attention over the next five minutes, 10 minutes,  maybe an hour, 24 hours. You can overtime, increase the span of time in which you pay attention to how something is affecting you. 

And you do your best to isolate that variable so that you are accurate in your assessment about what it is that is affecting you in that particular way. While also appreciating that you can never be fully accurate or precise about such a thing, and it’s fine that that’s the case. 

 You’re just doing your best to evolve past the point of blindly guessing and instead informing the assumptions — they’re still assumptions — you’re informing the assumptions that you make based on attempting to isolate the variables and pay close attention to what’s going on. 

You take a certain drug. You eat a certain food. You hang out with a certain person. Just pay attention. 

In the moment, does it seem to bring out your best or worst? Does it seem to be Virulent, Valuable or Vapid? And these are just other ways that you can look at it. 

And then pay attention to the aftereffects. 

And I think the after effects in some ways are even more important.

Because one of the things that I’ve noticed over and over again… I can often have an experience that seems to be acutely negative, it could be highly emotionally charged in a negative direction, or it could be painful, the conversation could be difficult.

The whole thing could be uncomfortable and you could do something as picayune or trivial is taking a cold shower or just having to deal with the discomfort of that. But you still get the aftereffects of it being energizing and improving your immunity and whatever else comes along with it. 

Or you can have a difficult conversation with a loved one that and express things that were needed to be said that had been kind of hiding under the rug.

And the conversation itself might even be hellish, but the after effect of a better bond forming as a consequence of you having the courage to have the conversation is really where the payoff is. 

You can look at it in hindsight and assess it more precisely. Because you have the advantage of objectivity instead of living in the moment and ideally being present for the life that you’re living.

And attempting to assess it objectively from a meta perspective while it’s happening — and thus disconnecting you from actually immersing yourself in the present moment. There’s an advantage to looking at it retroactively and being willing to dig into it to see and glean, whatever insights there are to glean. 

When it comes to upleveling your performance and your skills and your abilities, being as creative as you can, being as capable of learning as you can, being able to expand your repertoire of skills and competencies… 

I cannot overemphasize the difference between exposing yourself to that which brings out the best in you versus that which brings out the worst in you.

 And the moment you stop exposing yourself to the things that bring out your worst, you’re almost automatically going to be exposing yourself more and more often to the things that bring out the best. And you’ll get an immediate and dramatic uplift in your performance. 

And it’s kind of like coming up for air, you coming up for a breath of fresh air after being underwater and smothered and nearly drowning for awhile. 

And you suddenly see more clearly, you’ll feel better, you have a better attitude about everything that you’re pursuing.

  • You have more resilience
  • more grit
  • more drive
  • more motivation
  • the ability to persist in the face of challenge
  • The ability to spot the mistakes that you’re making that you can clean up

(And an eagerness to do so, you know, you have this sort of drive for excellence or perfection that you might not have had before that can certainly lead you to be a much more polished player, creator, musician, artist).

And this is just a gain that comes from making a tweak that’s on the whole going to benefit every aspect of your life, including what I call the Standard of Subjectivity… meaning your typical, I-just-woke-up-in-the-morning, everyday sense of what it feels like to be you. 

Pay attention. 

To what you do in your life and who you hang out with. You know, when you hop on your phone and you swipe it through a newsfeed and seeing things that are. Put there primarily to increase your engagement and time on site so that you can become a better refined data set for advertisers to. profit from… 

You can just stop and say, well, how am I feeling? Is this bringing out the best in me, or bringing out the worst in me? Or is this just a vapid activity that is ultimately a wasted activity because of the opportunity cost? 

I mean, this is your life here that we’re talking about. This isn’t a small thing. This is your precious finite time, energy, attention, and resources. 

Now there’s a distinction here though, I think is worth mentioning when it comes to entitlement. 

We’re not entitled. To be surrounded by that which brings out our best. And there’s only so much that we can do on that front. 

And it’s not something that we need to stress about because that seems to be accomplishing the exact opposite of what we might be going for. 

I have seen people blow up relationships in their life. 

By taking this idea or something like this idea. And deciding, “well, you don’t bring out my best, and so, effectively, I’m going to abandon you.” 

That’s definitely not what I’m advocating here. That’s not what I’m encouraging it. 

Bringing out the best in you often means having the courage to have the difficult conversations with the relationships in your life, where things are fraught with struggle and strife. 

The best in you doesn’t avoid challenge. 

The best in you confronts challenge with courage. And fortitude. And honesty. 

Sometimes bringing out the best in you is to deliberately expose yourself to something that’s going to make you acutely uncomfortable. 

And have to deal with conflict that you’ve been avoiding. 

Because we’re along for the ridetogether here. We don’t want to leave people behind. I see this advice be given often when it comes to relationship itself. I think it’s dangerous. If nothing else it’s unkind. It’s lacking compassion. 

There are relationships in your life that are probably poisonous, toxic, and virulent. That you probably don’t need. And that you could probably do something about to change or extricate yourself from in a compassionate manner. 

That’s also true. 

But to jump to the conclusion that you just immediately need to extract yourself from these relationships and abandon these people, just because you have an idea that it seems to bring out the worst in you… There’s a lot of nuance here that I think is important to honor. And respect. 

That which makes you feel bad is not the same thing is that which brings out the worst in you. It can be. But it isn’t by definition. 

There are things that will make you feel bad and uncomfortable and feel negative emotions that are, in fact, one of the best things that you could do for yourself. 

And sometimes that means continuing a relationship, but cleaning it up. So that it doesn’t have this self perpetuating cycle of toxicity that’s currently entrenched inside of it. 

Now, this might seem far afield from the conversation of skill development and creativity and accelerated learning and stuff. 

But it’s the juice of life. And if you’re not tending to the juice of life, there’s no room for the other stuff. 

These are the facts of your life that you have to deal with no matter how often you might have the opportunity to focus on skill development and personal growth. And they’re all connected and they all feed one another. 

And the more sorted out these relationships are, and these other things that might be bringing out your worst or your best… The better all of it’s going to be, including your skill development pursuits. 

This is part of the process of Renovation. There’s a method inside of the Skill Acceleration Methodology called Recoding. There’s five steps to that method. And one of them is Renovation

It’s a renovation of your internal and your external space, such that the conditions for you to improve and excel at your craft at an accelerated rate are available.

You actually have the opportunity because you have the space. You have the energy, you have the bandwidth, there aren’t all these other things that are bogging you down that are causing clutter. 

It’s a renovative act. You are increasing your sensitivity to that which brings out your best and that which brings out your worst and attempting to assiduously increase your frequency of exposure to that which brings out your best and get the massive up-leveling of clarity, and space, and increased competency and capability as a consequence. 

 If you need a refresher on the Recoding module or you haven’t ever experienced it, you can check it out inside of the Guitar Acceleration Methodology. 

And hopefully you found this helpful. Thank you for your time, energy and attention. I don’t take it lightly that you are tuning into this, in the hopes of becoming better in whatever particular way you’re looking to become better. 

Try this out. Let me know what you experience. Keep me posted about your progress. I love hearing from you and I love hearing about the strides that you make and the improvements that you experience.

Talk soon.   

P.S. Do you have a challenge, question, or topic you would like for me to tackle in the future? Just shoot me an email and let me know – I’m eager to serve you to the best of my ability 🙂

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