The Richard Nicholls Podcast

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Episode 142: DON’T Be The Best!

Are you following the FA Cup at all?
I’m not a huge fan of football myself, but I know enough that when I see that lower league Sutton United are playing Premiership side Arsenal it’s worth looking up from whatever I’m reading and go “Huh? how did that happen?”.
Now, we all love an underdog story and so it would be amazing to see Sutton United beat Arsenal, it’s the stuff that films are made of!
But the underdog lost. Arsenal beat them 2-0, but the difference in the 2 teams are like George Forman fighting George Formby! It could easily have been 10-0 but Sutton kept their energy levels up and surprised Arsenal with how well they could play.
They walked off the pitch at the end of the day with their heads held high knowing that they did their best.

But how easy would it be to think that because they lost, they failed? That they were unsuccessful?
To me it depends what your goals are. If your goal is to be the best you can be then as long as you do that then you succeed even if you lose.

In life we shouldn’t need to always win.
Being “The Best” isn’t important.
When did it stop being OK to be average?

When Michael Gove was Secretary of State for Education a few years ago he said that EVERY student should exceed the national average…
I got a D in my GCSE Maths exam (twice!), but even I know that EVERYONE being above average is mathematically impossible.

Not being the best in the world at something does not make you a failure!
Getting a 2:2 or a third class honours degree is not failing at getting a degree. And similarly, getting a first class honours degree will not make someone more successful at being a human than anyone else. Unless getting that degree was the ONLY goal in life.
But even then, it’s worth looking at what’s underneath that goal to work out what we really want.

There’s a phrase I use a lot in my therapy room, “There’s nothing worse than spending your whole life climbing a ladder only to get to the top and find you had it leant against the wrong wall“

Because instead of the degree that leads onto the job and the career etc. It might actually be that our only goal in life is to be happy.
But if you do all the wrong things thinking that it eventually leads to happiness then you might be disappointed.
Look underneath what you think your goals are and see if you need to set your own sub-goals rather than making assumptions or letting someone else set goals for you.

If your fitness instructor says you should have done a 5 mile run, but you only did 3, did you fail? In their eyes maybe, but not in yours, especially if your goal was just to get off your sofa.

Doing ANYTHING that moves you towards your goal brings you a step closer to where you want to be and a step further away from where you don’t.