“I-I just don’t understand how it could possibly have happened?” I told my client, incredulous.
We had just been rejected on our offer to purchase a home. As a Realtor, this is one of the hardest conversations to have — especially with a bright-eyed youngin’.
“We wrote a nice, clean offer with,” I paused to check my math, “dang — we wrote for 13% more than they asked…and still got beat out. Unbelievable. Our offer was so good, but we still got beaten.”
This challenging conversation just happened the other day, and I am still reeling.
We were great, and still were beaten.
And isn’t that life?
Sometimes we are incredible at something. World-class, perhaps.
We can be good or even great and still lose.
No matter what our “one major skill” is — whether it’s chess or writing or playing guitar — there’s inevitably someone who is better.
That “better person” isn’t necessarily more skilled, sometimes, either — this is a frustrating element! Imagine being Magnus Carlson, the literal greatest chess player in history, and losing to someone else just because you made a wrong move or weren’t feeling quite well. How infuriating.
When we dominate something like singing or piano or poetry writing and are bested, despite our skill, it feels like a blow to our ego. Our pride and arrogance make us recoil in rage.
Being self aware can help soften the blow — “Lucas, you’re being a little proud, here. You are a great Realtor, but sometimes in some situations, others are better…and that’s just fine.”
At the end of the day, here’s the one thing to remember:
Don’t worry about being the best.
Don’t worry about losing, sometimes. You can’t win ’em all. That’s a fact.
Just worry about being a little better than YOU were yesterday.
That’s all that really matters.
On your deathbed or on your tombstone, there won’t be a grand exclamation of “I can’t believe that absolute hack Johnathan Smith beat me at XYZ on June 26th, 2008.”
What will matter to you is that you’re going out knowing you worked hard to be the best version of yourself you could be.
You can’t win them all.
But you can rest easy knowing you did better, today, than you did yesterday.
Follow for daily philosophical meditations.
These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”
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