"[So-and-so] always draws the best pictures. I want my picture to be the best one on the wall for Open House," he tells me as he labels the ventricles of the heart.
My heart knows this feeling. The desire to be the best. The burn of coming in second. Competition pumps through his veins just as it flows through my arteries.
But I'm trying to change my pulse. Slow it down. Shift from the desire to be the best to the drive to do my best. Stop the comparison of my work to the work of others, because here's the thing: somebody else's best doesn't make mine the worst.
Their fast doesn't make mine slow.
Their strong doesn't make mine weak.
Their smart doesn't make mine dumb.
Their pretty doesn't make mine ugly.
Their interesting doesn't make mine boring.
Their right doesn't make mine wrong.
To compare is easy, natural even. To appreciate is the challenge. So-and-so's art inspires my son to create, just as accomplished authors inspire me to write, strong athletes inspire me to push harder, and generous friends inspire me to give more. Their best makes us better.
There's only room for one best in any given pursuit, but there is infinite space in this world for better.