You don’t have to be the best

Just don’t kill anyone

You don’t have to be special or different or interesting.

You don’t have to be a high achiever or do anything even remotely impressive.

Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, the world is urging you to succeed. To follow your dreams. To be more, have more, do more.

Guess what? You don’t have to.

There is a pervasive culture of overachieving that is both stressful and unrealistic. Not everyone can be the best. Not everyone can be the employee of the year.

Just do what you can. Do what you feel well enough to do. No one will give you a trophy if you go to work when you’re sick. You’re not going to be acknowledged for wearing the latest fashion. People really don’t care about how skinny you are, how fast you run or how high your IQ is.

There’s no one standing at the finish line to cheer you on because life is not a race and it’s not about coming first.

Ease off on yourself. It’s OK to be OK. Show up at work and do your job. Exercise because it’s good for you. Eat well because it makes you feel better. Learn about things you enjoy. Pay your bills. Live somewhere you like. Hang out with people who make you laugh.

And if you mess up? That’s OK. Everyone does. Move on, keep trying and, most importantly, don’t be a dick because that’s all anyone actually cares about.







3 comments on “You don’t have to be the best

  1. This is oh so true Em! Nicely put and very timely.

    I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot lately, and have exactly the same thoughts as you. Well said!

    I think it is important ‘to do’ though – it’s important to have that spark, that something which calls to you and then you can pursue it. If you do that thing because you enjoy it then that is wonderful – no competition needed, no desire to better anyone. It’s fabulous.

    I ran my first 10km fun run the weekend before last. A friend pointed out that I’d come last in my age group and I shrugged and said fair enough. I knew I wouldn’t be fast because I had only done that distance once before. I ran the whole way, felt good doing it and look forward to doing it again. Exactly what I was hoping for!

    The other thing I have been thinking about lately is the delusion of doing that we often tell ourselves. We buy gym gear and a membership and say that we go to the gym when we actually don’t, or we’ll eat better/walk more/read/write/whatever. But we don’t, and then we feel bad because we should. This is all tied together – better to accept how and who we are rather than force ideals and delude ourselves!

    Have a read of this – http://zenhabits.net/fantasies/

  2. Great post, Em, and wise words. I thought it was going to be about dating, because I think this is true of the dating world too – to find true love, you don’t have to be the best, most exciting, interesting person in the world. You just have to make a connection with someone, and they with you, and that’s all about heart, right? Or so I’m told 🙂

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