If you want to be the best at something, the ACTUAL best, you’ve got a lot of races ahead of you.
First you run an offensive, catch-up race where you’re the challenger.
If you catch the leader, then you have a struggle as equals.
And finally, if you win, you have to run the defensive race.
Now you’re the king of the hill, and everyone wants to take you down.
If you want to be the best and STAY the best, then you have a taste for all three races.
The races all have different flavours, require different skills and will present different challenges.
For the first two stages, you can just focus forward – all your threats are out in front. As soon as you’re out in front, then the temptation is to look over your shoulder. And that compromises your speed. That feeds paranoia. That changes the flavour of the race.
If you have a taste for all three races (and you’ve got lots of fuel in the tank), then good luck.
If you don’t, then you might want to think about what you’re going to do.
Do you hitch a ride with someone who’s running your race and jump ship when they start to run a new one?
Do you try to develop a taste and a talent for all the other races?
Do you play a different game entirely?
Everyone’s going to have their own answer, but to me the premise is flawed.
As soon at you want to be the ACTUAL best, then the game is rigged. The cards are stacked against you. Your success is suddenly tied to your position relative to other people. Winning is only possible in one scenario.
If it’s a race, and you need to win to get any enjoyment, then don’t bother running. Because as soon as you lose, you’re not getting enjoyment of the process and then you’re not a runner – you’re a slave to the race.
You win when you enjoy the race.
You win when you enjoy the act of running. The acceleration, the jostle, the distance, the wall, the outcome, the losses.
If you love the race, then sometimes you might also be the actual best. But even if you’re not, you’ll still be winning.