[February 19, 2017] … and that will always be the case so leaders need to stop using it as an excuse. I often speak with young adults who’ve simply given up trying to be the best they can be because there are so many people better – much better – than them. My son was on a baseball team as a 10-year old where they lost every game. That was the last time he ever played or watched the game. “Why should I try,” he told me.
In school, my son held several swimming records, was the football team captain, top runner in track, sailing crew member, and briefly held his own in fencing. But he never played baseball again and that harks back to his feelings about being inferior in baseball and the bad experience his team had that one year he played. They were trounced by superior teams time and again.
His story is not unlike many others. They don’t commit the time and energy to do something they want because others are so much better; so they claim anyway. It is true that there will always be people better than you … much much better. It is shocking how a good deal of talent goes wasted when this perception continues to drag down good people.
With the right attitude, however, seeing others as better can be an advantage. We can use the superior talents of others to learn from and to make ourselves stronger and more resilient. Cyrus the Great exemplifies this way of thinking. As a boy he consistently sought out boys better than he in the sport of wrestling with the idea that they could show him the right way to wrestle and win. Later, he was to become one of the greatest leaders in all of humankind’s history.
“Don’t let your fear of being judged stop you from asking for help when you need it.” – Unknown
We are told that leadership is learned but there will still be those who more easily and quickly learn its intricacies of skill and character. This is true of any human endeavor. But if we are weak or slow or less smart, that provides us with an opportunity to get help from others and motivation to excel. Pride and fear stand in the way so the challenge is to overcome them.
Fortunately my son is a successful architect today and a well-rounded athlete. He did so, like so many others, by putting pride and fear behind him. We all can do it.
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