Being the BEST can make you the WORST

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In school, we are pressured to “be the best.”  We are pressured for years to compete with others.   Our “best” may not be good enough or our “best” may be too good.  Being the best can bring isolation and harm.  It can inflate someone’s ego and create conditions for unhealthy behaviors.  It can cause irreparable harm to a psyche.  It is also not in the interest of the greater good to ” be THE best.”

Let’s consider a few things happening today in our society that are misaligned:

If you applied to a top school, would they want the mediocre person?

If you apply for a job, do they say they want someone that is ok?

If you get a B or C, is that not enough?

From a competition perspective in sports, do they look at the whole person or just the mechanics?

What about the concept of INCLUSIVENESS?


I can be accused of missing the point of inclusiveness.  I assert that if we are to “include” people, we should include holistically not selectively?

Inclusiveness considers a person at their individual best.  It isn’t about THE best, but about their own PERSONAL best.   Sure, there is a lot to unpack here.

Let’s consider some ideas in being better people overall:

The best of the best may not be the best of OUR best overall.

In 2005, Richard Huseman started a series of conversations about the importance of relationships in the book, “Leader as Coach, How to Coach Winning Teams.” Here is an article based on some of his work.

He talks about the value of relationships and understanding how to coach and lead people together.   If you had a group of people that were mediocre working in harmony, there is a good chance they will out-perform a group with one or two superstars.

If we are to truly move forward as a society and we are talking about “being inclusive,” we need to realign our image of “the best” and focus on “our best.”

What is OUR best?

Our best …

  • Our personal KNOWN best -that which we think we have mastered.
  • Our personal UNKNOWN best- that which others show us we can do better and we can exceed our own expectations.

We are stronger and better than we know.

mirror fragments on gray surface with the reflection of a person s arm
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Are we imperfect or perfectly imperfect?

Sure there is a lot to consider here, but a few thoughts for this week:

If all baseball teams included a mix of high performing athletes and people with normal skills, wouldn’t the playing field still have balance?

If higher education looked at the whole of a person, wouldn’t we be able to give children some of their lives back?  Universities say they look at the whole, but that is not true.  The statistics don’t lie.  If we consider diversity only of color, race, and gender,  we are overlooking many people.

In business, if we focus on who we think technologically is “the best” we miss out on those who can bring people together and harmonize the group.   If we give credit to leaders that DRIVE instead of SERVE,  we lose overall performance.

Today we are learning about pronouns, but we ignore the nouns regardless.

If we are going to be inclusive.  Let us consider what it means to INCLUDE.  Let us consider the best of our perception is not the best in reflection.   In other words, what and who we think is “the best” is a misperception of what is best overall for everyone.

If we are going to evolve, we need to talk about this and we need to recognize our personal gifts and limitations.   We need to recognize how we all can contribute to the greater good and the whole of our society and well being.

If we are “the best” and we leave everyone else behind, we may wind up being “the worst.”


What do you think?