Doing your best means setting and achieving ambitious goals

Dr. Ghadeer Talal Melibari

“Ghadeer, look when I say do your best, I mean for you to be the best you can be,” my MA supervisor said. “And I’m sure this is not your best.”

This blunt assessment of my work shocked me as I felt it was of a decent standard. But he was right to dismiss it as not good enough. I had always thought if I was better than my classmates, I was a success - a notion he told me was plain silly. This taught me a harsh lesson that doing your best is not a grade you achieve or even being top of the class. It is a vision you set for yourself to be the best you possibly can be.

Recently, it was announced by Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh that foreign universities would be allowed to open branches in Saudi Arabia. He said the aim was to instigate a qualitative leap forward in the education system, in terms of empowerment, excellence and quality as well as further developing our research work. The influence of these institutions will also help our students set new and exciting levels of ambition and redefine what it means to “do your best”.

This is one of the most common pieces of advice, not only in Saudi Arabia, but around the world. Most people have been told at some point by a friend, family member or teacher to give their utmost in a given situation. It can be inspiring, but maybe it is used so commonly that we have forgotten its true meaning. Just as my MA supervisor taught me to look beyond my classroom and set higher goals, our students will be able to see the world through new eyes.

Some of the universities coming to the Kingdom have been shaping the modern world for centuries and their insights will allow us to help craft a bright future. Telling our students to “do your best” means they should identify areas of their study, work or life where they can truly excel. This will also help them to play their part in Vision 2030’s goal of transforming Saudi Arabia into a global economic and financial powerhouse.

For this to be realized, we will need an educated, professional, skilled and ambitious workforce to drive the Kingdom forward. Attaining perfection is a lofty and noble vision, which the Holy Qur’an and Hadith (Tradition of the Prophet, peace be upon him) urge Muslims to seek in every aspect of our lives. Ihsan is also the highest act of worship to Allah and I believe we can achieve whatever we set our mind to. Our best should not merely mean aiming to be top of the class or even the country - but to lead the world.