Striving to be the best at something can be a great approach in some areas. If you want to win a gold medal in the Olympics, you literally have to become the best at your craft.
For most of us, though, becoming the “best” isn’t attainable, or often even measurable. If I wanted our marketing agency to be the very best, what would that even mean? It’s not possible to even measure.
Instead, we always strive to be better. Adam Grant put it this way:
Striving to be the best is a mistake. It creates an illusion of an endpoint – and a delusion that you can only succeed by beating others.
Striving to be better shifts the focus from victory to mastery. You’re competing with your past self and raising the bar for your future self.
Adam digs deep into this concept in a recent episode of his podcast, which you can find here.
Ryan Holiday shares a similar perspective in his book “The Obstacle Is The Way” when he says to “Think progress, not perfection.”
We all have room to improve, and virtually none of us will be “perfect” in what we’re trying to do, so embrace the progress and keep moving forward.