The Illusion of Being Number “ONE”

Today I live life on my own terms and I am happy. But life hasn’t always been this way. As I Coach people, I realize some of them are where I used to be many years ago; obsessed by being the “best” or “number one” The reality check for me was when I lost all the money I had over ten years ago. Let me put this in perspective; I lost over thirteen thousand dollars in one day and that is all I had in life.

When you lose everything, you ponder- no one teaches you that. It was then that I started to meditate about the hierarchy of powers. I had lost my place among my peers.

But who gave me this place?

Who set the rules anyway?

Isaac Newton taught us centuries ago in his first law of Motion that; an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to continue in the direction in which it is currently moving.

What I was experiencing has a direct correlation with the traditional school system and Newton’s Law of Motion. Parents pay for a system built on standardized tests and scores. Media celebrates the students who excel in this system.  The ones who “fail” are not given audience or made to repeat classes till they make it.  Education is still moving in the direction it was set in motion years ago.  In my case I was moving in the direction of measuring power based entirely what society taught me.

If you think I am weird, look at the Companies striving to be “number one”. Some of them their Vision or Mission statements or tag line has something to do with “the leading” “Number One” It is like a standardized class where you only have one winner. Here is why being number “one” is an illusion;

I have studied Disruptive Companies like Google Inc, Apple, Microsoft, Underarmour, Facebook etc. They do not ascribe to the illusion of being “number one”. They understand that in order to lead (anyone can lead at something they are passionate about) you need to destroy the limitations of your mind.

Living in a world where only one person tops the class, only one company wins is a system that is based on illusions because it assumes;

  • That everyone is trying to reach the same people with the same solution. So, I have to beat you at being first- to the extent I don’t do that I have lost. Business or life is not an assembly line of Coca cola bottles. We are different, businesses have different core purposes. Each of those Companies listed above have mastered the art of measuring what matters to them. If I set out to make more money than you it does not make me better than you, may be your purpose is to give more.
  • The rules are cast in stone. We don’t have to have the same haircuts, go to the same restaurant or have a corner office on the eleventh floor to be a winner. You make your own rules.

The next time you boast about being “number one” ask yourself

Number one compared to who?

Who made the rules?

Remember life and business are infinite games; each one must run their own course, measure what matters, serve diligently and become the best based on their own terms.

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