A Musing

March 31, 2011
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I came across an intelligible thought today... or rather more of a topic than any single comment. A commentary?

Why is it, that from birth, we are conditioned to strive to be "the best"? No one ever tells you to set your sights on 2nd place... or, *gasp* Honorable Mention. Though when we receive these accolades we are told we should be grateful for them, they are never intended to be our actual goal.

In truth, the whole idea is nonsense. While there may be such a thing as "the best", the fact of the matter is: the best will never be us. I realize that that paints a rather drab picture of the world, but let us face the facts. There will always be someone better than you. No matter what it is that you do. In my instance, there are thousands of artists with greater skill than I. In my defence, I consider myself to have a certain level of talent, skill, and technical finesse that most my age do not have. But that is only "most". there will always be someone my age, or even younger, with more skill than I.

In the end, even if one were to attain the title of "The Best", would they really be able to chalk that achievement to skill or talent? There are too many variables. If you claim yourself to be the fastest athlete in the world, doesn't that just mean that no one better than you has challenged you? Yet? What I mean to say is that being "the best" has more to do with fortune and happenstance than actual ability or even effort. If you asked a person who the richest man on Earth was, likely responses would probably include Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Their reputation precedes them. Bill Gates is certainly richer than Steve Jobs, and may be one of the richest men in the world. However, according to Forbes List of Billionaires for 2010, The richest man is Carlos Slim Helú, Perhaps you'll consider me uneducated, but I had no idea who this man was before looking it up. I'd never heard of him. And who knows? Up and Coming Steve Jobs may knock both of these men out of the park someday. "The Best" is only a limited time title, after all.

The world we live in is one where the Top Selling book on the New York Times was written by Snooki, where an e-book giving tips for child molestation made national news, where a celebrity can get off on (I'll be politically correct and say "supposedly") killing his wife, and then write a book telling the world about it and rake in the dough. If it is talent that the world seeks from us, then it is talent to stir unrest. The unusual, the absurd, the distasteful... all have a certain place in today's society. And should these be able to call themselves "The Best"? In the end, fame is cheap. Talent is cheaper. And yet they're both so valuable to those who don't possess them.

If you can't be the best, then what is it that you aspire to be? Why run the race, if you can never win? You can ignore the facts and delude yourself. Pretend that your struggle is real, is tangible, is obtainable. Lie to yourself. You can give up and say to hell with it; do only the necessary to live your life and never really aspire to be anything more than average. You can settle for being "the best you can be", and lead a life of disappointments, but certainly its fair share of successes. Or you can simply take the more hedonistic route and aspire to be happy. And though by nature that may sound like the selfish and careless path, there are oft-overlooked benefits to even that mindset.

Life is all about choices, isn't it? So you choose a path and tamper it to your own tastes and call it a day. Personally, I guess I'm more of a hedonist. Why do whatever it is we do if we don't enjoy it? I aspire to impress myself. To meet my own expectations and goals, and to generally not give a damn about anyone else's. Selfish? maybe. Dishonest? Never. I don't kid myself. It's not that I don't EVER care what anyone else thinks, but if it comes down to an irreconcilable conflict between their opinion and mine, I'll choose mine without a second thought, rather than be miserable.

Bottom line is, people tend to either sweep these truths under a rug, or be driven mad be them. I sometimes think that we SHOULDN'T be told to win the race, and wonder why it is that no one ever seems to tell you to just run, for the sake of running.





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maximum_tude13 said...
Jun. 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm
I tend to agree with the last thing you said, that part about just running for the sake of it. For what other purpose do we have life if not to live it? While I see it as admirable to train yourself to be the best in whatever you want, I think it's better for a person to simply hone their talents to be the best they can be. And if it just so happens that you become the best in the business, then great. But it's not necessary to worry about other people who (maybe) are more talented t... (more »)
 
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