The number one spot is for losers

Alex Fayle — №3 with Michael Bungay Stanier

— “I’m the best.”
— “Be the best in your niche.”
— “Your goal should be to reach number one.”

Blah blah blah…

Know what? I don’t care about being the best. I’m quite happy being great. There’s so much more company when you’re great. The best is a lonely place, always looking over your shoulder to make sure that no one’s coming up from behind ready to take the number one spot away from you.

There’s so much pressure on being NUMBER ONE. Think of the Olympics, a perfect example of this. While thousands train for an event, dozens will make it to the final moment and only one person will be the best. You watch the news and the way they handle everyone else, asking second and third place athletes how it feels to lose the top spot. How totally icky.

I’ve learned since moving to Spain that most Spaniards don’t care about being the best. They find constant competition and work-work-work very English. Whenever I start getting all “gotta be the best, gotta be the best” Raul asks me why. And I say “because…” and stop. I don’t know why actually. Peer pressure perhaps?

I can understand why I’d want to be great. After all who’d want to listen to someone who isn’t striving to be great? But the best? Nope, can’t think of a single good reason.

There’s only one type of best that I care about and that’s doing my best. I’m not a slacker. I give whatever I’m doing my best, but that’s an internal thing. It’s competing with myself and going one step farther than I thought possible. But being the best? That’s completely external and I’ve had enough trouble in my life learning not to care what others think. Why should I allow others to measure my success against my competitors?

No thanks, I’ll stick with being simply great and share the winner’s circle with all the other great people in my field.

Photo: Flickr / doublej11 CC BY-ND 2.0

Alex fayle

Alex Fayle

Alex Fayle, Master of Information Studies from the University of Toronto who now lives in northern Spain where he found his soul. He’s back out on the Someday Sea to help others cross it.

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