The alien (to me) concept of striving to be the best

We’ve all heard several variations of the phrase: some people are hammers and some people are nails. I’ve been giving it a bit of thought lately… Surely, nobody wants to be a nail… but does every person strive to become a hammer?

As far as I can remember, I’ve never had the strive to be the best. Maybe very briefly in primary school, when I also just started dance classes… I did quite good growing up: I was the top student throughout primary school, I was a promising little pianist (don’t laugh) and I won awards for dancing. “What an ambitious little bugger!” you may think. Quite frankly I don’t really believe that the strive to be the best in everything came from that 10 year old… I was good at doing what people told me to do. That I remember vividly. So if I were told to strive for excellence, I did.

Looking back, I think the only reason I succeeded was because it did not require actual conscious initiative from my side. I simply did what my parents, teachers and other adults expected of me and it didn’t cost me much. Hoping not to sound snobbish, I’m gonna go ahead and say that it was borderline easy to be the best.

This changed, however. As I slowly but surely started turning into an adult, more and more people started expecting initiative from me. Expecting initiative, when the majority of my life I was told what to do. I panicked. What do you mean I need to have a goal in life? My dream job? Are you kidding me? It was clear what I had to do in primary school in order to be the best. It became vague as I grew older.

I went through middle school and high-school striving not to attract attention, not to turn heads and not to cause scenes. I did a pretty good job study wise but never have I really been jumping out of my skin to get ahead. I didn’t have a dream, I wasn’t trying to build myself. I just kinda followed the road with no desire to know what my future holds. It was all pretty vanilla. No history books would have included my name.

Call it fear of drawing too much attention. Call it fear of competition. Call it fear of a good challenge. Call it laziness, for all I care. I lead a vanilla life that hurts nobody, inspires nobody and kills me on the inside.

With all that being said though… couple of days ago it hit me: why am I not striving to be the best?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I suddenly realized that I’m just one of the nails in the tool box, had a mental breakdown, cried about it, then wiped the tears, and started tearing up my room, wardrobe and kitty posters in an attempt to stop being a marshmallow.

Just like Elliot when she turned from this

Exactly what Elliot did when she turned from this

into THIS in a matter of seconds

into THIS in a matter of seconds

The fact that I’m a nail was kinda there from the start. The question that slapped me in the face though was WHY. Why didn’t I stand up for myself in my piranha-filled high-school or my piranha-filled dance class? Why didn’t I  strive to get the best grades in high-school? Why didn’t I strive to get into a distinguished university? Why didn’t I look for scholarships? Why didn’t I strive to be one of the top students in my university? Why didn’t I apply to become an Honors student? Why did I quit dancing and volleyball? Why was I not more strict with myself?  Why did I stop caring for my body? Why did I continue giving myself candy and reassurance talks when I needed a whooping and a tread mill? Why did I not do all of those things? Why was I not striving to become a hammer?..

BECAUSE the concept of striving to become the best is alien to me at this point. Why be the best? Why make a big deal of things? Why care? Even if the end goal is not to compare yourself to others, why not be the best you you can possibly be? Why not at least strive to become the best version of yourself? The other day, my seventh or eighth (I lost count) personal trainer asked me the simplest of questions: what are the goals you want to achieve with these sessions? I looked at him like he asked me to perform open heart surgery. Goals? Me? I have to have them?.. I hear this question constantly, yet I am baffled by it every time.

I don’t even think excellence would suit me, to be honest. I think I would become one of those assholes that says things like: “Yeah, you know it!” or “I owe my success to Kabbalah” or something… I say this because I know from past experience that whenever I achieve something, I get insanely annoying. Nowadays, if I lose 1 or 2 kilos, I instantly turn into the girl who wears leggings and, what’s even scarier, thinks she can get away with it. Yeah, that exam was soo easy. Like I didn’t expect a 9 at all… Oh I don’t eat sugar anymore. My diet consists mostly of air and kale salads that I personally grow in my garden…. Don’t you just want to punch this one in the esophagus? I’m rambling…

Jokes aside, I’m finally asking myself the important question:

Why am I not striving to be the best?

Regardless of the answer, for the first time in forever, I am finally thinking of switching this mentality. I sincerely hope that I will be able to if not conquer mankind- at least find the will power and balls to strive for my own personal excellence and finally make this concept not so alien sounding once and for all.

Well that was deep, unsettling and just too much, wasn’t it?

Thanks for reading anyways 🙂

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4 Responses to The alien (to me) concept of striving to be the best

  1. FlutePlayer says:

    No need for balls, Alexandra.
    Just the will.


    • FlutePlayer says:

      “When we were at school, we had school teachers stand in front of every single one of us and go, ‘If you work hard and you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.’ You know what that was? That was a fucking lie. You can’t achieve anything. Nobody can. Don’t put that pressure on yourself. Everybody in the world has limitations.
      Jim Jefferies – “Alcoholocaust [2010]”.


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