If you cannot be the best in the world at something, is it even worth trying?


Often, people can be afraid to begin a new creative endeavor, especially when they compare themselves to people who are the best in the world.

After all, how can you compete with someone who is so much better than you are?

What they fail to recognise is that these “best in the world” people have often been working on their skills, craft and experience for decades to get to where they are now.

Of course they will be better than you are now.

But that does not mean you cannot improve.

The challenge to overcome is thinking that you need to be as good as the best in the world. Or even, that you need to be the best in the world in order to achieve something.

I came across a great LinkedIn post by Fredrik Haren on this exact topic.

He speaks about when he set his goals, he almost always set his ultimate measure of success as being “the best”:

When I wrote my first business book, The Idea Book,
I wanted it to be ranked as one of the best.

When I became a professional speaker
I wanted to be ranked as one of the best.

When I published my novel (The Unvisible)
I wanted it to get to #1 on Amazon.

He has now achieved all of these goals, and more, but never was he really the best.

There were always other speakers who earned more than him.

Other business books which outsold his.

LinkedIn influencers with more followers and engagement.

But instead of seeing this as a failure, he instead shifted his mindset from being “best in the world” to instead being world-class.

There are very few “best in the world” in business. And if you aim for that you have a mindset of competition (“I am going to beat everyone”.)

But when you aim for world-class you aim for a standard, and you know there is always someone better than you. That triggers you to be better. Pushes you to do more.

Additionally, you cannot control what everyone else does, and how they compete with you.

Being the best in the world relies on other excellent people being worse than us, which we cannot control. We cannot control how much time, effort and money they invest in themselves.

If we aim for growth, we can improve over time.

And if we can grow and improve, we can aim for excellence and being world-class.

That is something we can control.

We cannot control how many copies our book will sell, or how many people download our song or video.

But we can control how many words or pages we write each day, how many songs we record and release, and how consistently we produce creative and innovative work.

We cannot control how much money our new innovation will bring in.

But we can control how many customers or prospects we speak to, how many sales calls we make, how many pieces of feedback we use to iterate and that we ship on time.

We cannot control how good the painting we produce will be.

But we can control how many hours we spend painting, and how often and consistently we do it.

At the end of the day, we cannot control the outcomes of our actions.

But we can control the actions themselves.

Focus on what you can control. Do it consistently, and it makes it more likely you will be a success in the long run.

Did you know that scientific evidence shows your creativity decreases over time

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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of Ideatovalue.com and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.