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Why You Shouldn't Seek To Be The Best

I’m a competitive person and with that come some pros and cons. The upside to being competitive is that it keeps me aggressive and moving forward. That’s a good thing to have when you’re self employed. The downside is that it can stir up unhealthy (and unhelpful) desires.

One unhealthy desire that has recently become obvious to me is the idea of being the best in what I do. Being the best at anything is reserved for one person, group, company, product etc. There’s always only one name at the top of the “best” lists. I’m never going to be the best husband, father, marketing guy, social media guy, etc. and I’m fine with that. Here’s why…

Be An Otto Graham
The guy pictured here is Otto Graham. He was a phenomenal quarterback in the early days of the NFL. He played for eleven years and took his team to the championship game every (yes every) year. His teams won eight championships in all and he holds the record for the highest winning percentage of any professional quarterback…and chances are you’ve never heard of him. 

Nobody seems to consider Otto Graham as the best professional quarterback ever. His name doesn’t even appear on any of the top 10 NFL quarterback lists. He was clearly excellent but isn’t recognized as the best, yet who among us wouldn’t want to be an Otto Graham in our industry?

Pursue Being Excellent Not Being The Best
It’s easy to want to be the best. Heck, we’ve been told to pursue being the best since we were kids. It seems like a worthy goal but it’s not. We need to forget about being the best and focus on being merely excellent.

When you pursue excellence it means your focus shifts to the customers you have today. It means you’re satisfied with a job well done. It means that stuff your working on is going to be quality work. It means you don’t have to be number one because you’re number one to the people who work with you and the people who buy something from you.

Everyone can seek to be excellent. In fact, we should all want to be excellent. That’s a worthy and difficult goal itself and it’s one we control. Hardly any of us will ever be the best and we should be fine with that if we know that whatever we did, we did it with excellence.