How To : Deal with being second best

Or third best, or fourth.. or not being in the picture at all. This is something I admit I wasn’t really very good at when I was little – a character trait that was probably fueled by my competence in a variety of fields.  (My pompousness is still very much intact, evidently.)

Why I’m writing this is unknown to even me; but I know I dedicate this piece of writing to all those times we (or at least I) have felt inferior or inadequate, when we’ve seen others do great at things we thought we were brilliant at.  The primary cause of concern in these situations is the doubt that presents itself in the form of those hurtful, self- deprecating questions we pose to ourselves.

Ek cheez aati thi tujhe, usme bhi koi aur better nikla

The problem further extends to the temporary, simple harmonic phases of depression we seem to fall into; something which curtails our ability to concentrate on other things we’d like to do, and often we find ourselves engaged in deep introspection – about where we’d thought our lives would be at this point, things we should have done but failed to do, promises we failed to keep.

Main kuch nahi kar paunga life mein

Of course we were not going to be absolutely brilliant at everything, yet that phase of depression makes us think as  if we’ve wandered tangentially from the life path which we thought we had set ourselves on; in rare cases I have even had my goals and aspirations melt away and be replaced by visions of myself standing behind counters asking people how I could help them today. Or something to that effect.

The title of this text says ‘How to deal with being second best.’ There is a fallacy in there – we shouldn’t have to ‘deal’ with being second best; it must serve as inspiration to better ourselves – and that is it. That is what being second best, or third best or nowhere close to the best, should make you feel – inspiration to get to the top (if you want to, that is) and appreciation for the people who already are.

Each time I’ve found myself in situations like these in the past 6 years, the aforementioned depression and doubt were almost a uniformity -until I had this epiphany. To be honest, looking at everything from the viewpoint of appreciation and inspiration makes everyday life a lot less complicated and a whole lot more positive. To be absolutely frank, no matter how cliched I may risk sounding at this point, it feels, lighter.

If you still feel I have failed to offer a solution to the affliction that is the subject of this article; my final offering is this :

When you find yourself in doubt over your own abilities; when the overshadow of another becomes too much to handle; apply the following test :
Ask yourself if you recall the first time you were appreciated for your effort, the first time you were applauded for your talent, the first time you were praised for your gift and the first time you felt proud of yourself for what you were. Remember, that you were not the best then, and you may not be the best now, but know always that the one who is the best wasn’t wasting his/her time reading some random blog on the internet. So get to work.

Just kidding.
Although if this quote does seem to strike a chord with your sensibilities, I hereby allow permission for it to be referred to as ‘Kashyap’s Talisman’.


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