The weekend of Nov. 4-5, my sons and I enjoyed looking at, listening to and sitting in exquisite, unusual, gorgeous, expensive, historic, and exotic cars at the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival. 

The event was held at Port Royal Golf Club, an excellent backdrop for this celebration of all things automotive. The weather was warm for November, a perfect day to stroll the greens and examine the cars that piqued our varied interests.

So many of those vehicles were simply works of art. The Best in Show, for instance, was a sleek black 1936 Horch 853A Roadster that had caught my eye in its initial spot on the fairway. Interestingly, the car had also been named Best Rolling Art before winning the premiere title.

A few days later, one of the boys showed me a photo of some glasswork that his friend had created. The glassblower had transformed the fragile raw material into a beautiful, shapely and colorful vessel with small components that defied logic, except to its creator. It was simply divine.

“He learned from the best, and he became the best,” Chandler said of his artist friend. “And because he’s the best, he commands the best prices – people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for his work, not because they need it, but because they appreciate the art.”

This artist had also discovered and shared with Chandler some delicious coffee beans he had purchased, at a higher price than he usually pay for his beans. Chandler said it was most amazing coffee he had ever tasted. It was simply the best.

Not long after that exchange, Chandler told me about a conversation he had with another artist friend, a potter who was in the process of moving away from the area, and a bit anxious about his new locale. He wants to be accepted in the new community, but more than that, he wants his artwork to be accepted.

“You’ve just got to believe you are the best, your work is the best, and you deserve the best,” he told his friend.

As the friend walked toward his car moments later, Chandler said he heard him muttering the words as if he were savoring the idea: “The best. The best.”

Though these examples of “the best” are references to art, I think the concept can apply to our daily lives, our work, and even our relationships with others.

We hear people talking about “living my best life.” We tell young students who are just learning lots of things, from matching shapes to reading to drawing, “just do the best you can.”

In our discussion of what makes something the best, Chandler and I concluded that it becomes easier to be the best and create the best when you surround yourself with excellence. It becomes natural for you to expect the best of yourself. It sets the baseline for what could be.

Whether your influence is the best coffee, the best art, the best cars, or the best music, one is bound to benefit from that influence.

Remember that what makes it the best is not just the cost or who made it. It’s the story of its creation.

When you consider what might be hindering you from living your best life, being your best self, or doing your best work also consider your surroundings. Are you surrounded by excellence? If not, maybe you could start there.