Winning can be for Losers. 

Day 112 Week 16 Q2 Sunday, April 23, 2023

Trilian Didin’t Have a Choice

If you set yourself up intending to win a Noble Prize, an Olympic Medal or some international juried Artists Competition, you are giving away your personal power to others to determine if your life is a success or not. If you are excellent, you may win but never count on it. If you ride a motorcycle, do everything right, and do not make a single mistake, you still have a good chance of being hit by someone else. It does not have to be your fault. If you live in a low-population-density area, your chances of riding for decades without anyone hitting you may be better.

Statistically, the chance of someone achieving the nonlinear success of stardom is not very good. This does not mean you should not pursue success. It means do not expect it to be wildly nonlinear like Elon Musk, Jeff Zuckerberg, or their equivalent in the arts, sciences or politics. These things are like predicting the weather or the stock market. Good luck with either of them.

Let us say you want to be a very successful person with an excellent career, acknowledgment, and wonderful compensation. Say you want to be a one-in—ten-thousand person. That is pretty good. Say you are in the top 1% of what you do.  There is still a big difference between 1 in 100 and 1 in 10 thousand.  You can certainly shoot for the top 1%, but it is so hard to shoot for the top one-hundredth of 1% as to be silly to expect. 

The difference between these two is measured in behavior, not in goal setting. It is reasonable to want to be in the class of the elites, and you can work toward that. It is crazy to demand that you are the most elite of all of the elites. It is possible but not wise to be overly attached to it.

Being in the top 1% is winning. Being one in a million, so extremely unlikely that it would be unhealthy to be too attached to it. The behavior for both is the same if you want to be a balanced, integrated person.  If you hang it all out there for the one in a million, you may be very hard or impossible to live with, and you may say fine to that, but, likely, you will not live as long.

When you are in a college class full of people, each of whom was the smartest person in their high school, you identify has to stop being about being the best. Just be thankful you are even in the room with the other exceptional folks, and remember, the exceptional are often excluded because of how much they are outliers. 

Tone it down, join the rest of the human race, and behave as well as you can instead of trying to be the master of the universe.  When we witness their behavior and decision-making, it is rarely impressive. Being surrounded by sycophants is not the same as liking yourself.