We are quick to applaud those that rise to the top of their class, and, no doubt, they deserve our respect, for it takes hard work and discipline to perform at that level.
But there’s a danger.
When you attach your self-worth to comparative achievement, you’re destined for disappointment, isolation, and burnout. You will, at some point, experience imposter syndrome. And you’re likely to run a path that’s been run a thousand times before.
How much does that benefit you? How much does it benefit the world?
Perhaps we’re overlooking something.
What about that kid in the back of the room who’s staring out the window, the one who says no to their parents when they ask about baseball tryouts, the one who plays make-believe in the field across the street, the one who doesn’t have any interest in the Honor Roll, who doesn’t glob on to activities just because they’re thrown at them in a very particular order…
But, who, instead, gets into punk rock, crocheting, transit bus maps, beat poetry, trees, electrical circuits, car engines, microeconomics, US history… all on their own?
It takes great courage to save your attention for that thing you haven’t found yet.
And the gifts you give are so much greater when you know you’re where you’re supposed to be, instead of where somebody else put you.
You can walk anywhere with confident feet.
And we can cover a lot more ground.