We Don't Have To Be The Best

Dear Friends,

I’ve never been the best at anything. And you know what, I’m cool with that.

You see, the pursuit of excellence doesn’t require that we be the best.

The pursuit of greatness doesn’t require that we be the best.

Nor does the pursuit of anything else, really.

We don’t necessarily have to be the best to succeed.

However, there is one thing that we do need to be. Not just do, but be.

If we want to succeed out over everyone else gunning for that spot, we must be the hardest working. That is, we must be performing at our best and continue to grow and develop what that means to us.

Now, I’ve done a pretty good job of shedding my scarcity mindset and acknowledging the abundance in our world. But I also recognize that if someone wants something more than I do, they are going to get it well before me.

So it’s much less an “if” but a “when.”

To get what we want we have to become what we want and that requires a lot of hard work. It requires that we consistently level up, playing at a higher and higher level compared not to others, but only to the person we used to be. 

If you’re going to compare yourself to someone else, do so as a means to model their behavior, not as an outlet for unfounded jealousy. If someone has what you want, what can you learn from that person?

To succeed, we have to work indeed. To excel, we must work well. To come out on top, we have to work a lot.

I’ve always considered myself to be reasonably intelligent. But understand this, I attribute that intelligence 20% to ability and 80% to grit. I worked hard in school. Certain things came somewhat naturally, yes, but for the most part, I had my head down and my heart up. I could pick up new concepts rather quickly, but I still had to work incredibly hard to master the application.

In sports, specifically soccer, I was never the most skilled player. But there was no way you were going to outwork me. You may be able to dance around me with some fancy footwork. But I’ll tire you out. You’ll get past me, but you better hope you pass the ball right then and there because I’ll be right back on your heels. And if you do pass the ball, well, then it’s your teammate’s turn to deal with me.

We often shy away from work as if it’s become a four letter word. We need to cut that out. Work is the only way we’ll get anything done. It’s the only way I’ve ever gotten anything done. And trust me, there have been many times I wished I could think my way to greatness. It’s a start. But it’s useless if we remain at the starting line.

Because guess what?

Action is everything.

We don’t have to be great to start, but we have to start to be great.

The best part about greatness, excellence, high performance, and success? It’s a pursuit, not a destination. We don’t “get great” we “become great.”

And still, we don’t need to be the best to be great. We just have to be great. That’s it.

Be. Great.

So, my dear friends, let’s put our heads down and keep our hearts up so we can show up and do our work every single day.

Because when we combine consistency, focus, and purpose, there’s nothing in the world that can stop us.


Be great,


P.S. A great example of this is none other than the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant. Kobe wasn't great because he was Kobe. Kobe was great because he defined what it means to have a work ethic. The time and effort he put in to his craft is unparalleled. And because of that, he BECAME one of the greatest players to ever play the game.



Evan CookComment