Be the best in the world at something, darn it. Don’t just
be okay. If you really want it, don’t even be great. Be the best.
To Be or Not to Be, the Best (that is the question)
Every time you go to do something, consider whether you want to be the best in the world at it. When you go to make dinner, for instance, do you want this dinner to be the best in the world? When you pick up a weight, do you want to be the best weight-lifter in the world? When you sleep with your husband, do you want it to be the best sex on Earth?
If the answer is no, that’s okay. Be honest with yourself about it, because a person who genuinely does not want to be the best in the world at something probably will not become the best. But do consider, then, why you are bothering with this activity. You’ve gone through the effort of making dinner because you need to eat, for instance. Okay, that’s a sufficient reason.
But why isn’t it the best dinner? Do you not care about procuring the precise most delicious blend of flavors that currently exists beyond your imagination? Would you prefer to put your efforts elsewhere? If the answer to the latter is yes, then do so.
But really do so. If you don’t want to be the best just because you’re scared or you have generally-low standards and are fine with mediocrity, well, perhaps those are separate issues to attend to. Perhaps you need some shock-value to raise those standards of yours.
The way you frame your ventures matters. If you’re looking to lose weight, for instance, it may not be wise to proclaim, “I want to be the thinnest person on Earth.” Good luck with that- plenty of dead people have got you beaten out. It would be more reasonable to say, “I want to be the healthiest person on Earth.” But “healthy” is somewhat of an unclear term. You must define what “health” means to you.
It might do to go further, and choose a single aspect of health to focus on. The more specific your aim, the more likely you are to become the best in the world. In contrast, the broader your aim, the more competitors you will have for being the best.
So for the health example, you could say, “I want to follow the healthiest diet in the world.” But “healthiest diet” is still abstract. We know there’s plenty of disagreement worldwide about what the “healthiest diet” is, if one exists. So you’ll have to choose, I would suppose, what is the healthiest diet in relation to yourself.
The Path of Best-ness
When you sense that a food is causing you pain, fatigue, or is otherwise holding you back, completely banish it from your diet for a while (at least several weeks, I would suggest). If you feel better, continue with not eating that food. And this refining process goes on and on and on, probably forever. “Best” is not a static point to reach. Things change, and so must you.
At the same time, experiment with new foods. See what you can replace the old junk with. Maybe lacey kale doesn’t serve you well, but have you tried dinosaur kale? There could be a difference there.
And how about different types of food preparation? Might it be better to lightly steam kale, or blend it into a shake, or eat it raw in a salad?
The nuances are many, you see. This is why even just focusing on diet, in contrast to health as a whole, is still a large task. As you could guess, the majority of people would rather not deal with these nuances, and thus they settle for “good enough”—or, in America, for “not bad enough to kill me.”
But do the nuances just exist with food itself? What if the rest of your life influences how your diet effects you? What if having an amazing relationship helps you to digest food better? What if being miserable makes your digestive system sad, and it is thus impossible to find a diet that you can call “healthy?” Not all pursuits will have as many nuances as this one, though some may have more.
Being the best in the world- or at least, one of them- is likely to gain you publicity, and that public image is bound to pressure you into holding up that image. Simply stated, you must remain the best in the world because you are the best in the world. It’s a positive feedback loop. Provided you don’t crumble under the pressure, ain’t that wonderful?
Changing the Course of Best
Of course, you shouldn’t hold up an image that feels disgustingly incongruent to you. For instance, if you want to give up the image of being the best Taco Bell customer on the Earth, that is fine. Even if a lot of people become unhappy with you, I will silently congratulate you on making the choice you really wanted. However, if you move on to become the world’s best Burger King customer, then I might feel a bit differently. ;)
Being the best in the world certainly takes a heck of a lot of commitment. In most pursuits, I would imagine, you have to live that title everyday, all the time. What if the grind becomes unexciting to you, and you want to try something else?
Well, you could start pursuing a new title.
So maybe you have one of the healthiest diets on this Earth. But after years of living in a cozy house with an expensive, world-class, high-tech kitchen, you’ve decided that you want to flee the nest and live on the road for a while. Of course, even if you can use a stove and a blender in a car, it might not be quite as convenient to do so. And depending on what you want to do, healthy food might not be easy to access all the time. Plus, you probably won’t want to dedicate as much time to diet anymore.
What can you do? Well, you could consider specializing even more. Instead of having the “healthiest diet on Earth,” you could be the healthiest world traveler- of the world! And now the title is that much more fitting, since you can claim yourself to be a “citizen of the world.” To forge a lifestyle so that neither your healthy-eating nor your traveling persona degrades one another-- well, that shows mastery.
How to be the Best, and Why
If you are the best in the world at anything, there is a chance it will be of some value to someone. If people know about you, it’s pretty much guaranteed that, for various reasons and in various forms, people will line up out the door to see you.
The most likely and prevalent value people derive from you is entertainment, and that entertainment may consist in five minutes of news coverage. It might also take the form of you becoming a carnival attraction, or having a reality TV show, or you performing your own live show (that is, at your own discretion- not under the command of some smelly carnies).
Perhaps even more likely than publicity/entertainment-value is your ability to teach your skill. You’re the best in the world, darn it- people want to know how the heck you did it! And who is better qualified to teach them than yourself? Start your own standing-on-your-head-while-juggling school, my brother. Someone will show up.
So how do you become the best in the world? Well, I may not be qualified to answer that since I’m probably not the best in the world at anything-- except, perhaps, for deliberately avoiding Clif Bars. But as I said earlier, it’s an unending refinement process. If you stop once you earn your title, are you really the best? I’d like to think not. The winds change. What worked yesterday may not work today, and the path of success today may become the road to failure tomorrow.
I would imagine that striking a balance of surrounding yourself with other experts in your field and bests-in-the-world with time alone is ideal. Being around other experts will encourage you to become an expert yourself, even if they don’t teach you anything directly. Spending time alone, on the other hand, will enable you to think unconventionally and innovate. Clear your mind every now and then and see what sort of awesomeness may arise from within.
Do you have to be born with some innate talents or into some special environment? Depending on the activity, maybe. This might be especially true for a broad niche and/or one with many contenders, such as being the fastest 5K-runner on the planet.
But who says what the best birth-brew for success is anyway? If you want it just work at it, smart guy. If it becomes apparent that things probably won’t pan out for you for reasons beyond your control, then either become God and destroy those reasons or go do something else. You’ll be alright.
On the note of the environment, I would suggest avoiding input you consider “poisonous,” like fear-based news and drivel-filled blog articles. You must claim your mind as your own. Only you choose what goes in and what comes out of it.
Otherwise, if other people can command you so intensely, how can you expect to be the best in the world beyond those very people? “Best in the world’ doesn’t just mean that you’ve mastered a technical skill: it likely also entails that you are a master of your mind and yourself, as well. You are literally one of the best people on Earth. Each aspect of life matters here: there can be no accurate, sustainable specialization without a general ground from which to build on. Unless you’re a savant, attending to only one thing might not help you to be very good at that thing for very long.
So how do you choose what to be the best in the world at? Do you make a list of possibilities and pick one, or do you just start working at what fascinates you and then one day decide to become the best at it? Or do you be an all-around ambitious person who tries to be the best at all she does? I suspect any of those would work. Again, just start doin’ it, wise guy. Be free (well, and committed. And intelligent).
How do you know when you’re the best in the world? Well, being absolute #1 may not be totally necessary or even practical to shoot for, since different people may be the best on different days. It really might make more sense to think in terms of the top 5. However, saying that “I want to be in the top 5 in the world” maybe not be as awe-inspiring and motivating as saying that you want to be the best. So keep telling yourself that one. ;P
And, perhaps finally, why choose to be the best in the world at something? For one thing, just being the “best in town” might not cut it anymore- not with the Internet. Sure, being the best in town is better than being the not-best in town, and people will likely value you for the title, but globalization doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. Even if you aren’t a world traveler, you aren’t just a citizen of your city or state or country- you’re a resident of the world, and all the other residents of the world are up against (or beside, depending on how you look at it) you.
On top of that, again, you’re guaranteed to provide some sort of value to at least some people- depending on the pursuit, incredible value. The challenge is bound to endow you with massive growth. If it’s a healthy pursuit (unlike Taco Bell-whoring), you’ll likely thank yourself for it. And it will probably make your life exciting, meaningful, and fun as hell- and you’ll get to meet cool people along the way.
Declare Your Pursuit
So what do I want to be the best in the world at? Sometimes, I think I’d like to be the best at understanding consciousness- or, perhaps, the human psyche. Of course, this is not clearly defined, and trying to be the best at such a pursuit as this may be hypocritical. But hey, can I really be so sure of that? It’s something I’ll have to refine, define, and, well, just try- and try hard.
And how about yourself? I’m going to leave the comments open for this one. I don’t really care what alias you take (though being yourself might help you make a more congruent decision), and I don’t know what your current talents are, so just say it. I have no grounds on which to judge you, even if I wanted to do so. Proclaim it shamelessly and unshakeably, without doubt. If you can do that, you might just be a contender for a “world’s best” sticker on your forehead in the future. :)
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