I overheard my Son and a few of his teammates discuss what it was like to be on the soccer team they played on last year. This is the first year of elite soccer for them and a lot of them played against each other. After a long set of discovery sessions, they now are on the same team.
They were talking about how they were the best on their team last year but it is not the case now. As frustrating as it may be (or comforting) it is actually a good thing. If you want to get better at something or be successful you need to surround yourself with people better than you. The fact that in my son’s case, they are doing so in a team environment lends well to this.
You don’t have to look too far to see this in real life. People like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg all have done this and gone on to build great companies. Here are 3 reasons why being the best might not always be best:
There’s no Room to Grow
When you are the best person in the room and you need to take the group on to the next level, you can’t always rely on yourself. If you want to get better the buck really stops with you. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and you will always strive to improve. You definitely will not get complacent. You will not be able to. Like I tell my son, it will always keep you on your toes!
It is Harder to Deal with Adversity
To expand on the previous point always being the best or smartest means that you will never be challenged. Things seem to always go your way. However, if your not trying to improve you will never face any failures, downfalls or adversity. This means that when you do (and you inevitably will) you will have a hard time dealing with it. I discuss how this is related to learning in a previous post. If you like movies a good example is in Rocky IV. The Russian fighter Rocky is up against has never been hit or cut. When he meets a fighter that finally does this to him he doesn’t know what to do (deal with adversity) and it leads to him losing the boxing match. When life knocks you down you get back up and try again. It is hard to learn this when you never face adversity. Not being the best helps you learn this.
Gratitude Might be Lost on You
When you are always the best or smartest person in the group you might pin all of the success achieved on yourself. Patting yourself on the back every once and awhile is OK but if you find that is all you are doing…..My point is a lot of successful people realize that their path has a lot of mentors, teammates and generally people who want to see others do well on it and they show gratitude for it. For example, Christiano Ronaldo may seem cocky to a lot of people but he does show gratitude for those who have helped him over the years to become the global success that he is.
I enjoy when my kids discuss topics like this. It makes for a great teachable moment. It also shows that they are growing. As parents that is all you can ask for. That they not only grow to be of sound body but also of mind.