Is this your best work?

Today's quote comes from Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power:

One oft-told tale about Kissinger... involved a report that Winston Lord had worked on for days. After giving it to Kissinger, he got it back with the notation, "Is this the best you can do?" Lord rewrote and polished and finally resubmitted it; back it came with the same curt question. After redrafting it one more time - and once again getting the same question from Kissinger - Lord snapped, "Damn it, yes, it's the best I can do." To which Kissinger replied: "Fine, then, I guess I'll read it this time." (Source: Kissinger, by Walter Isaacson, 1992)

I love it. And not just because I suffer from a lot of anxiety and impostor syndrome when it comes to my writing. The quotation I started my very first book with was from Anatole France: Caressez longuement votre phrase et elle finira par sourire. (Caress your sentence long enough to make it smile.) I can work and rewrote and re-re-re-edit the same stuff maniacally, especially when it's about something close to my soft bits. (Political columns, I can crank out in no time flat.) But the point of the anecdote, I think, is that at some point you need to feel confident enough to stand tall and announce to the world - or your boss - that yes, damn it, that's the best I can do... and believe it.

This sweet face

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