#1 – Not the way of the best.
If you set out to be the best, you may end up among the top performers – but believe me, you most likely would not be the best. By the simple logic that “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp” those who end up as the best often set out with a different objective. They hardly tell you that their aim was to be the ultimate “whatever” – and they prepared themselves accordingly. They only found themselves being labelled the best at the finish line when all their rivals were lost in the dust.
#2 – Change is unchanging.
All things in life change but change itself. A static condition does not exist in the universe – all things are becoming something else. When a condition appears static it is only because its rate of progress is equal to its rate of deterioration. So if you stop aspiring and relax because you are the best, you actually start regressing and would be in for a rude surprise at your next outing – when you may not even be among the top performers.
#3 – Pulling your punches.
If you think that being the best is good enough you may tend to tailor your efforts towards being just a little better than your perceived rivals. You may adopt a strategy similar to theirs rather than tasking your creativity to come up with something innovative. So even if you do come out as the best, you would not have stretched to bring out your best. Personal growth only occurs when we stretch our limits.
#4 – Your gift to the world.
A graver consequence of “pulling your punches” because you think being the best is good enough is that you may actually deprive the world of your own peculiar gift. Who knows, you may be a peculiar genius entrusted by Providence with what it takes to make scientific, artistic, cultural or other breakthroughs that would alleviate human suffering and increase human enjoyment of life. If you are content to be merely the best (rather than the ultimate) you would have frustrated the divine plan – and should be accountable!
Just imagine if Sir Roger Bannister had been content to be the best runner of his day rather than the one who shattered the myth that no man could run a mile in less than four minutes. Wasn’t that a victory for the human spirit and an inspiration to many?
#5 – Paradigm shifts.
It is human to strive to overcome obstacles to our happiness and liberty. History has shown that often a so-called paradigm shift (i.e. a profound change in our model or perception of reality) is necessary to surmount major limitations. Thinking that the best available is good enough hardly sustains the kind of curiosity, research and courtship of serendipity that has achieved and continues to beget the fuller, happier life for you and me.
#6 – Victim of history.
What we term “best” may actually be relative to our knowledge of history and current affairs. You may think you are the best because you are only aware of events in your locality or generation. A study of the history of other nations or other periods may reveal that you are far from being the best. So if you would find yourself any small place in history you had better go for broke, rather than rest on a mistaken confidence of prowess, ha ha.
#7 – Use it or lose it.
One last thought that gives the lie to the belief that being the best is good enough is the natural law that what is not exercised atrophies. Unless we constantly aspire to better ourselves mentally, materially and morally we would slowly but inevitable slide into mediocrity and ineptitude.
It is said that the greatest reward of service is the ability to render more service. Therefore, it is our privilege to glorify the creator and improve our world by making the most of our greatest gift of life. For to whom much has been given – from him much is expected.