I have this affliction. Maybe affliction is too strong a word to use here, but sometimes it feels like an affliction. You see, I always want to be the best. This has been going on for most of my life. If it is true that we are given lessons to learn during our lifetime, then HUMILITY is probably the title of mine.
When I was a kid, any friend I had, needed to be my exclusive best friend. This was not easy to accomplish, since we moved around a lot, and friendships had already been established long before I got to town. In fact, I don’t believe it ever happened.
Every contest I entered was engulfed with the hope that I would win first prize. I have no blue ribbons in my trophy case, I don’t even have a trophy case.
In each class I have taken, I wanted to be singled out as the best – the teacher’s pet and the envy of all the other students. Nope.
I want by blog to be Freshly Pressed so I can have thousands of followers and hundreds of favorable comments on each post. Still hoping.
Intellectually, I understand the futility of these desires. I have read many quotes that say it isn’t important to be the best, just be better than you were yesterday. Really?!
Throughout my life, I have been presented with ample opportunities to be humble, and to practice acceptance. Yesterday I was presented yet another one. Did I mention I am learning to play the banjo? Learning is the operative word.
On the Meet Up sight, Regina found a monthly bluegrass jam in Grapevine. That is just about 10 or 15 miles, as the crow flies, from where I live. Of course, it is somewhat further by auto, since I have to go around the lake to get there. I was really excited. My teachers have said jamming is exactly what I need to progress in my banjo playing ability.
So, I yesterday I packed up my banjo and headed to Grapevine for a four hour jam session. Don’t get me wrong, I did not think for one minute that I would be the best player there. But in my dreams…
There must have been 25 players present. Guitars, fiddles, mandolins, dobros, upright bass, and of course banjos. I was one of 5 banjo players. You guessed it, I was in fifth place, but there really wasn’t a contest – only in my mind. Everyone present had probably been playing bluegrass for at least 100 years, but that doesn’t help my feelings of forced humility. They were playing and singing songs I have never heard of, and were playing them really fast. I sat in the circle and noodled around on my banjo for four hours.
Regina asked me if I thought I would go back next month. My response was, “Absolutely!” It was lots of fun, with lots of interesting lessons and pointers thrown in. Who knows, after about 25 more years, I might just be the best bluegrass player at the jam.
The Tao teaches us:
When society discovers our talents
and elevates us to a position of power
this is the time to reach inside
for humility and avoid displays of pride.
Easier said than done. Thanks for the comment.
“I want my blog to be Freshly Pressed so I can have thousands of followers and hundreds of favorable comments on each post. Still hoping.” Yeah, me too, and my blog was Freshly Pressed. Luck of the draw…or one of the editors felt sorry for me that day.
Anyway, I enjoyed this post. Of all the posts I’ve read today, this was definitely the best, and by a wide margin. So consider yourself to be the best, to be number one, to have won first place in the rankings of all the posts I’ve read today. If I had a blue ribbon, I’d award it to you. Yay!
Wow! You just made my day. Thanks!
I really don’t think I would like having to read and respond to hundreds of comments on each post, but I do enjoy the ones I receive.
I remember whining at length because I got mainly red ribbons at the fair and my frustrated mother telling me, “Janet, no matter how well you do anything in life, there will always be someone who does it better. Get used to it. Did you join 4-H to have fun or be the best?.” Well. I had to think about that. Over the years, I’ve remembered her words on the occasions when I needed to. Still, it does help to whine a bit. And I agree with Doobster418.
Thanks for the comment. I saw a t-shirt on some kids at a horse show years ago that said, “Second Place is the First Loser.” What an evil thought to put in the mind of a young person, and yet our society is hell bent on trying to make winning the most important thing. No wonder we’re all screwed up.
There is a difference between striving to be our very best (for this is how we learn about ourselves, what we enjoy, express our passion, how we want to live, follow our bliss, etc.) and the desire to always win only to show the world how much more worthy we are. This is a mentality that says we are separate, it does not recognize “we”, only “I”. It is a poverty mentality of spirit and the ability to see the whole and one’s part of it.
Well, I guess affliction does breed poverty. Thanks for the lesson.