Here’s a question I often ask myself:
If you had to choose between being the best among average people, or being average among great people, what would you choose?
Now, I know everybody would probably want to be the best among the great, but I think these are two very real options for most of us.
Being the best among average people will feed our Ego, and this can be a pretty irresistible temptation. This is because we all like feeling special, “better” in some way.
For some people it will mean having a great job. For others, a good marriage. It could even mean being fit and slim.
Comparing ourselves to others and coming out as the “winning” side will probably boost our self-esteem, and make us feel more secure, even if we’re not setting the bar high at all.
The problem is, of course, that if we only base our sense of wellness by being the best in our small, limited world, we will never be our best selves. Not to mention, it can lead to irrational behavior and the small self-esteem boost will not last, because it was never real to begin with.
On the other hand, we can swallow our Ego, and always aim higher. Even if this means we will just be another one in the crowd, if this is a crowd of talented people, who are an inspiration, a “healthy” competition, then we’ll always have potential to be better.
Granted, being average is not something our Ego will love, and will resist against it. It may have us feeling down, or maybe that we’re not even good enough. But in our true self, we’ll know that we’re aiming for real growth, and not just recognition from others.
So when I ask myself the question, do I want to be great among the average or average among the great, I fight my ego and remind myself that if I ever want to achieve greatness (whatever that may mean to me), then it doesn’t matter if I am better than somebody else, as long as I am the best possible version of myself at the moment.