Monday, August 14, 2006

The Best

Truism: we live in a culture obsessed with being “The Best”.

If by definition, only one can be “The Best”, where does that leave everyone else most of the time?

Resentful, that’s where. Not just unfulfilled: un-fillable. Not just unsatisfied: insatiable. If this is the case, if most people feel like losers most of the time, then there is a fatal flaw in the initial proposition.

Why, then, are we buying into it?

What if, instead, we focused on Being? Not The Best. Just Being.


- We’d commit. We’d stop running, chasing, clutching. We’re not lost. We’re here. Commit.
- We’d listen. Not look at the person who’s talking while our minds are vagrant. Not nodding while sneaking peaks at our Blackberries and cell phone screens. We’d stop. And listen.
- We’d exercise, every day, an earnest effort to put someone else’s needs before our own. Your kids don’t count.
- We’d love with abandon. Not through the land mines of our complexes.
- We’d read voraciously. Books, newspapers, magazines. We’d read things that have permanence; that will be a thread in the web of events we call history. We wouldn’t read tabloids or celebrity gossip. It’s perennial.
- We’d realize that what we do to ourselves has indelible consequences that will catch up with us. For one thing, we wouldn’t eat food that comes from a conveyor belt.
- Shopping would be a necessity, not a pastime. There would be no ineffable emptiness to quench.
- We’d recognize that happiness is something to strive for rather than something that befalls us (or doesn’t.) It would be its own worthy goal.
- We’d be clear on what our priorities are and let them be what guides us.
- We’d ignore our enemies. Heck, we might not have any.

Would this make us rich, famous, Number One? Maybe as a side effect. Maybe not. But we’d never wonder what it all means, if this is all there is, or what we’re supposed to do next. We would be defined by what we are, not by what we do. We’d be left, in the end, with something more valuable than perfection. Perfection is overrated.

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