Monday, November 17, 2014

Second to One

Most of my life I've been the eternal bridesmaid. I'm good, sometimes great, but theres always been someone ahead of me. In contests, I win second place. In sporting events, I'm competitive, and near the top. In relationships, I'm a great guy; almost the best.

This puts me in an awkward position. I'm always near the top. This can be viewed in two ways (this IS Pessimistic Optimism, after all). The awesome part is that I'm always in the running. I'm competitive and near greatness. The pessimistic part is that I'm rarely the one. I can smell the top, but his feet smell stinky.

This has been the fuel of my pessimistic side. I know even though I do my best, someone or something is going to eek through just a tiny bit better. In sports, they're going to rally to that extra point. In contests, I'm up against the prodigy. In relationships I'm the next best guy (and to add insult to injury, I'm the second choice, then the first choice falls through, so then I'm the first choice by default... then I suddenly become the second choice again after a few months).

The optimistic side of me sees this as a good thing. Hey, I'm not the first choice, but I'm not the last choice either. It's nice to be good enough to be in the top ten constantly, even if I never win. After all, the second place team still gets to the Super Bowl, right? I see a pattern of "twos", so that must be my lucky number.

Number two can either mean second in command, or taking a crap. It all depends on your perspective.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with being in second place, or the second choice. It's nice to know that when the first place fails, I'm the next in line, but there's a certain confidence in being number one. You have the advantage of being in control of the situation. You're not waiting for someone to screw up so you can take the lead.

I wonder sometimes if it's something I'm doing that keeps me as a
perpetual runner-up. Maybe I'm not aggressive enough. Maybe I'm too aggressive. Maybe I'm too nice. Maybe I'm not nice enough. I'm not sure, but it makes it hard to have comfort and stability in life knowing you're good enough; unless something, or someone better comes along. Part of it makes me want to  say "screw it all" and stop trying, but part of me uses it to keep the drive going.  Will it be enough to be number one someday? Time will tell. I'm the meantime, I'm pretty good at horseshoes, and I'm in the military, so hand grenades come into play.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Same ol Same ol

Complacency is probably the biggest downfall of mankind. It allows the underdog to take over the champion. From David and Goliath to the Denver Broncos' last Super Bowl, becoming complacent causes you to lose your edge, your drive, and eventually your respect.

Life is so easy to become complacent. There is so much going on every day that the thought of putting it on cruise control is overwhelming. Much like Ron Burgundy discovered in Anchorman 2, cruise control is useful in maintaining speed, but not so much when the road curves.

I've discovered that you need to always remain on edge to guard against complacency. If you become complacent in your job, you get passed over for people who innovate. You get complacent with your children, you'll eventually discover they've move beyond your boundaries. If you get complacent with your wife, you become boring and her eyes begin to wander towards someone with more drive and ambition.

Fortunately the cure for complacency isn't difficult to attain. Treat every day like it's the last. Do your job as if you could get fired at any time. Expect the unexpected from your children. Remind yourself you have to impress your wife every day or else you'll lose her.

You can't let your guard down in this day and age. There's always someone looking to take your spot. Always someone trying to be better. Always someone trying to impress your girl. Keep that edge or else you'll just be one of the crowd.