What does it even mean? When I see art competitions or song competitions, I truly wonder what it is we are measuring here as “best”. Is it popularity? Is it conformance to a required style? Is it alignment to popular culture? Is it number of brush strokes or musicianship? Is it accuracy of representation? What is “best”?
People who spend their lives trying to be the best are on a fools errand, in my view. It’s not a reachable goal. If you reach it, it will be only because the definition of best is defined narrowly enough for you to achieve it. Best is something that changes with whim and fashion. The best 1980s leggings are no longer valued (or at least they are no longer valued by the same criteria).
I try to teach my children that being the best doesn’t matter. What matters is trying your best. Best, to me, is about integrity.
Paradoxically, simply sticking to this ethos of trying your best often results in work that other people consider to be the best. I don’t know why, but it does. And if it is a route to having other people think your work is the best, that kind of misses the point. It doesn’t matter what other people think. What matters is that you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you created your work using the best efforts and skills you were able to apply at the time.
Integrity beats popularity.