On the surface this may sound like I don’t care about performing at a high level - like I sacrifice standards to help people feel good about themselves at the expense of achievement.
That’s not the case.
I believe strongly in pursuing greatness. I believe the pursuit of excellence is important, really important. I also believe chasing ‘the best’ is fruitless.
The modern day stoic, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, summed my philosophy up pretty succinctly on TNT NBA broadcast during a debate on who the greatest basketball player of all time is. The debate usually boils down to Jordan or LeBron and there are hundreds of legitimate arguments on both sides, as well as many more valid arguments for other great players.
Kenny made the point, “There is not a greatest, just greatness.”
Why Should We Care?
In our chase for the best, we dismiss the great. Our constant comparison and justification for our beliefs of judgment on who, or what, is best robs us of the opportunity to appreciate greatness all around us.
It’s the judgment that we seek, yet despise, isn’t it? We want to know where we rank compared to others in our arena. It appeases the ego to know that there are others below us, but how does it help us? It doesn’t. It hurts us.
If we continue on the ‘best’ path we will eventually find ourselves changing the metrics we measure the ‘best’ by. I mean, afterall, it is completely subjective. Or, if we don’t change the metrics we begin searching for excuses or justifications of why someone else can perform at a higher level than us.
These don’t help us become the ‘best’. More importantly, they pull the blinds on the greatness of what we’re doing. They minimize the obstacles we’ve overcome, the purpose we live with, and the process we’ve chosen to take on a daily basis.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
It’s interesting to me that this approach is perceived by some as non-competitive, or lacking toughness. The competition has, and always will be, with ourselves. We can acknowledge it or deny it, the truth remains.
It’s about performing at our best, not being the best - an arbitrary, subjective judgment. We can control our best. That’s how we provide value to the world and fulfillment to ourselves. Recognize and acknowledge greatness in yourself and others. That’s the best.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.