2- Wanting to be the best at (almost) everything
“Yes I would really just like to be average or probably just fine but that’s about it, thank you very much” said no one ever
Yes really. If you think I am crazy for saying we don’t have control over wanting to be THE poster boys and girls for bestness, look into yourself and ask yourself, if you were to pick one out of (a) an anti-ageing magic potion (b) a magic potion that made you a superstar and ultra amazing at everything you tried to do, in your life, which one would you choose?
When I asked my 12 year old niece for a pick, she said she would choose being the best at beating age. She’s very smart but that doesn’t beat nature.
5 years ago, I would have picked B. 5 years ago and before that, I either wanted to be the best at things or I didn’t want to be near those things. There was no middle way or trying or climbing up the ladder, I wanted perfection. 5 years ago, I was 16 and I had started a business venture that failed because I wanted perfection and because I didn’t want to try, I just wanted “it”. I was more worried about what people were going to feel about what I had ventured into than what I had really ventured into. I quit because when I didn’t attain the level of best I had expected and hoped for, I felt like an utter and complete failure. Of course it didn’t matter what could have possibly gone wrong with my plan. I was miserable. It was the first big “visible” failure that I had encountered in my life. It got me thinking. But not too deep. It got me thinking maybe my version of best was messed and I needed to switch my criteria. I believed there was a scale and I needed to find it. How stupid I was.
I grew up in a weird family. We weren’t Adam’s family but it was weird because everyone was trying to outbest the other and I was the only one confused. You were judged by two things “best” or “not best”. My family was loving, we respected each other and I believe what we had in our family was healthy competition. My father encouraged us to be the best. Top honor classes, stellar GPAs, top in sports, top in volunteer work, top in people skills, you see, there was a top and then there was 50-feet of bottom. We had our own version of being the best and we were taught to protect that. Growing up, on monkey bars my mom would scream “come on climb up, do not even think about turning back, you have to climb up”. My performance was stunning and I didn’t struggle. I didn’t struggle because If I turned back, I knew my mom would have shaken her head with helplessness and given me a stare that would have made me feel miserable. That represented my family. It was a pressure test, for 18 years.
A little fast forward and my high school grades started spiralling down the rabit hole because I believed Math and Science were for the dummies and to be honest, I was tired. I wasn’t tired of studying, I had been a star student, but I was tired of being a second hand car in competition with ferraries. To be honest, I had no problem with that. I had a problem with people’s ideas of the “best”. I eventually caught my grades before they could be flushed down the toilet but they weren’t stellar enough to impress Cornell or Yale anymore and that was depressing. For my parents. All cool for me.
Fast forward 5 years and I have understood a few things that have helped me with my struggle to want to be the best. I consider myself lucky to have realized it at an age where I still have chances left where if this crazy notion of being the absolute best blocks my path, I am able to walk right through it into the clear. It is the gift of common sense given to me by my experiences.
I have realized that your best is not necessarily the best for other people and their best is not always your best. What we do not understand in our lifetime is that there is absolutely no universal standards of being the best yet we try all our lives to mould our abilities into a scale from 1 to infinity and label them as we go. The legends of the world are really only the legends in people’s minds. So, when I want people to see me as the best, I want myself to be judged on a scale of opinions. You will always be liked by someone, you will always be disliked by another. I believe there IS one way you can decide if you are doing best. Satisfaction. If you have found your contentment, that is the ONLY standard you should have your eyes own. Picasso’s art is called the best of the 20th century and Picasso’s art is still hated by many, but I bet he wouldnt care much. I figured I didn’t need to outbest the whole planet, I still want to but I have realized I don’t HAVE to do it and that, this is no more than just an option now.
But if you still want to be the absolute best, please go ahead and let me know how you really did that.