I find myself all too often getting caught up in trying to be “the best” in my classes or in my side hobbies. This even starts showing up when I play video games, where 90% of my time isn’t spent playing the actual game, but instead looking up videos on the most efficient builds, or the quickest playthroughs. It makes me wonder if we are genetically adapted to try to be the best, or whether society has pushed us to need to be better than the others around us.
It is curious that when I sit down and self-reflect on what I believe my true goals are in life, being “the best” at something almost never comes to mind. I find myself instead wanting a happy family, living somewhere with dense and luscious green trees, and having the time to read and enjoy my family’s company.
The thoughts of being the best seem to instead occur in spontaneous manic bursts, which might be interpreted as a moment of inspiration to others. It almost feels addicting, picturing myself in the spotlight of the biggest company of X or Y field, and having my name trailing in every related magazine or podcast. But this moment of instant gratification, coming from these thoughts of fame, feel only too similar to the rush of satisfaction given by getting more likes on a facebook post. In the end, both intrinsically mean nothing. Having fame or facebook likes doesn’t correlate with having long-term happiness (that I know of), and perhaps this means that these thoughts of high-achievement should be followed with caution.
It too seems to be the driver of the “rat-race” of modern life. We are told we must achieve our maximum potential, and follow this track, or that track, and get years of experience, dedicating the majority of our waking hours to our career. If we don’t, how will we afford the best house? How will we afford the best meals? How will afford the best new phone? But in the end, will any of those things really give any happiness besides the few moments after you get them?
We have the ability to ask “why” to anything we feel, or think, or do. We are, after all, the most conscious and intellectual beings on this planet, and we should use our ability for deep introspection to truly determine what, in the end, will make us happy. Maybe we should determine how to achieve those goals, instead of our forever evolving career goals, and our essentially unobtainable dreams of fame. Consequently, maybe we should learn to appreciate what we have instead of always trying to reach for the most “efficient build.”