Why Would You Ever Want to Be in Second Place?

Seriously, think about it.

When you’re second, your staring at a backside; I’ve never found it a pleasant view particularly when you consider what the unobstructed view looks like.

Without the backside staring you in the face you’re looking at wide open spaces, a landscape void of other humans; nothing but untampered dimensionless opportunity.

The backside placed before you is not only an obstruction, it’s the tissue that stands between you and your maximum potential.

I believe we should be encouraged to avoid the backside view, to go for the position that has an expansive view with no backsides in sight.

But the narrative out there today is exactly the opposite: “It’s not winning that’s important, it’s playing the game.” and “I don’t care if little Roy wins the game as long as he is having fun.” is the normal commentary that pervades the conversation when it comes to the notion of winning.

Some schools on sports day don’t want to hand out winning ribbons because it highlights the winners and says nothing about participation. “Everybody should get a ribbon” essentially communicates that you should be rewarded for just showing up. What a shock when kids in these schools grow up and have to fight for a career among hungry competitors.

And some schools don’t hand out letter grades; rather they introduce a system that recognizes effort and not the result. So, if you put in a ton of effort you might get an “exceeding” rating; if you didn’t try that hard you may get an “improvement needed” one.

Trying is important but the ultimate measure of how effective one is at trying are the results that are delivered.

The fact is, that in the real adult world, where you stand in relation to others matters; it separates you from the other participants.

“I achieved a first class mark in economics” is more important to your life than “I tried hard and enjoyed the subject content.” Like it or not, that’s the way it is.

A job candidate would last about 30 seconds in front of me after uttering such nonsense. What I want to know is what they achieved, scholastically and organizationally not that they “tried real hard”.

Anytime I have been sucked into believing that coming second was ok it was rationalization behaviour at best.

It was an attempt to make myself believe that looking at someone’s backside was acceptable.

The problem is that when I find myself accepting a posterior perspective there are some seriously destructive forces at play that can cause personal damage.

Motivation — My motivation to drive forward stops.

Why should I push myself to try and show my backside to the leader of “the race”? And as a result of this logic, I take my foot off the gas because I don’t believe there will be any consequences.

But there ARE consequences. I may not overtake the backside I’m staring at but at least I’m motivated to try which is completely different than accepting the inevitability of being second or third or fourth and being ok with it.

Survival and success in the world requires highly motivated individuals who will do whatever it takes to avoid a backside view.

Creativity — My creativity takes a rest.

Highly motivated people tap into their creative spirit an naturally as their heart beats. If I’m driven to see the backside in my rear view mirror, I MUST solve the problem I’m looking at. I MUST look for an opportunity to get by it.

But if I’m ok with second position, I stop looking for a solution; I don’t need to be creative in the moment and I stop my creative juices from flowing.

Success demands creativity; the backside view stultifies it.

Competition — My competitors have an advantage.

Hungry competitors are always looking for an edge, and if they see that I’m complacent and have no motivation to seek the number one position they will gladly step in and achieve it themselves.

It’s a zero sum game to them and it’s the easiest way for them to gain an advantage: whatever I give up, they take. Simple.

So while I suffer this ideological disease, they pump up the volume to put yet another backside in my forward view. Winners NEVER let their competition have an advantage because they pay for it in the long run.

A second best attitude let’s them in when I should be shutting them out.

Rationalization — I’m fooling myself.

I believe I’ve accomplishing something when I’m not even though people around me say “Well done!” “Good job!”.

A false sense of accomplishment is what it is when I see a backside and feel pleased with my performance. I guess it’s better than seeing

2 backsides buts never as good as seeing none at all. None = brilliant and that’s THE target I’m after.

The reality is that a backside view means I’m not going to grab the brass ring.

The only salvation from a backside view is if I learn something from the experience and never see a backside again.

So if my backside learnings catapult me into an open field in my next competition then second works as an interim step to my final goal.

Teaching — I’m failing my job as a role model to others I care about.

I see myself as a teacher, and being ok with a backside view contaminates my perspective which in turn is manifested in the lessons I teach.

What I want to help people with is how to win, how to be remarkable and how to transform their reality into amazing things.

How can I do that when I am happy with seeing back pockets?

I don’t think I can.

So for better or for worse I need to aspire to an open field at my feet if I am to be able to help my closest people be the best they can be.

Don’t get sucked in to the playing the game is what’s really important narrative. It’s not the real world and it robs you of the very essentials it takes to achieve rewards in your life and your career.

Don’t look at the backside.

Pass it by…

Related: This Is When Copying Can Be Useful