I see this way too often – people who can’t be happy unless they’re the best in the world. Don’t get me wrong, drive is very noble and can get you places. You have to believe you can be the best if you’re going to stand any chance of actually doing so. There’s something very good about never giving up until you are as good as you can be, and pitting yourself against others can really bring out your best. If competition really works for you, keep doing it.
But there is a subtle difference between that healthy competitive drive and perpetual dissatisfaction with your life. Think about it. There are over 7 billion people in the world. Are you likely to be better than them all at anything? Of course, someone has got to be, but it has to be OK that it’s not you – by all means try, but it has to be fine to be second or 100th or just in the top 10%, or you will never ever be happy.
Can it really be true that you can only be happy if there’s nobody else that might be considered better than you? Especially when you’re not talking about an objective case like holding a world record. With art, nobody can ever be THE best. And with sport, you’ll get old and overtaken eventually. The thing breaks down for everyone.
So remember that there are ways of enjoying and contributing without being the number one. You have to aim high, and get as good as you can. Just don’t doom yourself to misery because you’re not the most beautiful in the world, the fastest, the most famous, the richest. If you aren’t happy on some level with #2 then you could never appreciate #1 anyway.