If You Ain’t First, You’re Last (So I Thought)

As it would turn out, one of my favorite movies to quote revealed something I’ve dealt with my entire life. I’m scared of being last in a competition that doesn’t exist.

Competition and Last Place

I’ve never considered myself competitive. I realize now, though, that I am in fact very competitive. I’ve been telling myself I’m not competitive to avoid the hidden aggression I feel during competition.

In third grade, I continuously got in trouble for trying to race one of my classmates. Once the teacher handed out a test, it was game on. I would scribble answers on a sheet of paper, likely all wrong, to see if I could turn mine in first.

The issue is I wasn’t leaving time to think about the question and answer, or the problem I was solving. The competition became more important than the answer or solution.

  • What good is being first if things are more wrong than right?
  • What good is being first if the result is sloppy work?
  • What good is being first if you didn’t add value to the problem?

It turns out that being first in that situation might have made me “finish” lastNineteen years later I can still see that trait now and then.

I have to slow down, take a step back and remember “If you ain’t first” you’re not last. In fact, you’re likely in a better spot than “first.”

This fake competition is something I’ve learned from mindfulness, too.

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