Being the best or staying ahead?

The best part of getting old nowadays is to get a new pair of “lens” to see the world. Being able to see various scenarios without projecting only what I want to see is… refreshing.

I believe our personality is forged during our childhood and once we reached young adulthood we’re basically molding it in the context we are exposed. Meaning, we don’t add new layers, we only add depth to the existing ones.

And that depth is built upon lessons learned from the scenarios we lived in. Challenging/stressful moments are key on giving a strong arsenal to better prepare for the future.

Did you had a loving heartbreak? You either shield yourself before giving in next time or you just create distance while assessing your feelings.

Did you burnout on your work due to a high-pressure ecosystem? You either develop mechanisms to adapt or you’re simply quicker on recognising it and step out before the boiling point.

Either way, all scenarios trigger a reaction which is proportional to the impactful action. It’s like going to the gym: you destroy the muscle to properly recover it and make it ready for a higher tension.

But while our mechanisms are getting stronger so does our confidence and assumptions. A well prepared person for a given context will be less patient/empathic with the ones still experiencing it for the first time. That’s the reason why we, as parents, sometimes have less tolerance for kids who make basic mistakes; or as a top professional running a task, less tolerance for the ones not performing it well.

That was reason for my conundrum. I didn’t find myself as “a special one” but I knew I’ve been exposed to contexts which promoted my personal and professional growth to a higher standard (so I thought…).

So, back then, I defined my motto: “Being the best on what I do”. Quickly I understood that doing things very well was not enough since my efforts were pushed by an egocentric perspective. It was common for me to crash-and-burn when I tried to shine at the expense of the social tribe I was into (please see here work group). Moving forward some years after learning the hard lesson, I’ve adapted my motto: “Help delivering the best solutions”. During this phase I was more of a team player, focusing on getting sh*t done as an active contributor to the team’s goal. Now this was a game changer, since I improved a lot my sense of accomplishment while merging individual performance with group recognition. But… was still feeling “short”.

Fortunately it hit me. The path that I chose allowed me to work for myself, work with others and nowadays… work for others. Took me a while to understand what I was good at: promote other’s potential. So my motto now is: “Make positive and profound impact in people’s life”. This is my why, after so much time focused on the what and the how.

And I need to be honest with myself: what does “being the best” means? Who decided who I’m comparing with (competition)? Who decided the metrics? Who decided the timeframe? Like Simon Sinek once said “there’s no such thing as being the best in marriage, friendship or business”. So, “being the best” is nothing more than a product of biased lens I defined for myself.

More important than “being the best” is “staying ahead”. I need to come to piece with the fact that life is a never ending war and we either win or lose our battles. But the will to be ahead and surpass challenges must be there, giving me the strength to perpetuate myself and deliver better versions of my being. When we accept the fact that we cannot always be right, cannot always win, cannot always be accepted, life gets much easier.

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