Why History Won’t Remember You

The other day I heard this Ad on radio, it goes like this: بتتذكر تاني أغنى رجل في العالم؟ طبعا لأ! لأنه التاريخ بيذكر الأوائل فقط (Do you remember the second richest man in History? Of course you don’t, because History glorifies the first, not the runner up!) Well, with all due respect but, says who? Being ranked first or second is all about comparison, and I think it’s very destructive to depend on that to determine your success. Why not just do your best regardless of the rest? If you open any personal success book, the first thing you’ll read is probably the definition of success, which is: there’s no definition for success. Success differs according to each person’s perspective, goals,, dreams and potential. I remember that bit of Top Gear, the car show, in which they receive a letter form a person challenging to drive the car in their track and record a time that overtakes the last person on the list. At first you might be like: what’s the big deal? But I think you’ll think differently when you know that the man was blind. And he not only overtook the last person, but the last two persons. What seemed like an easy task for any professional driver was a huge success for this man. I’m not saying we criss-cross cpmpetition and throw it out the window, it’s important to hav ecompetition, but that is very differnet from envy, sour grapes and trying to imitate others and be like them. Every person is a unique being, you don’t have to be compared with others in order to stand out. Not to mention than it’s not always as accurate as you think, it’s rather complicated. You know they say there are two ways to have the tallest building in a neighborhood: Either by building the tallest building, or demolishing all the buildings around. Constant comparisons might lead you to the latter. I think you all heard that funny story about Charlie Chaplain participating in a look-alike contest and coming in the second place! This tells you this: who decides who’s first anyway? Anyway, the aforementioned Ad reminded me of this bit I read once in a book called Tuesdays with Morrie… “It is 1979, a basketball game in the Brandies gym. The team is doing well, and the student section begins a chant, “We’re number one! We’re number one!” Morrie is sitting nearby. He is puzzled by the cheer. At one point, in the midst of “We’re number one!” he rises and yells, “What’s wrong with being number two?” The students look at him. They stop chanting. He sits down, smiling and triumphant.”

Originally posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/3/182565.html

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