Not First Place…Can Work Out

Being firstĀ place is what successful, social upwards should strive for. Right? There are some tried and tested aphorisms like:

  • Being First to market when creating a new product
  • “Winners get the prom queen…” (as per The Rock film)
  • Silver sucks” (because it means you lost to the person who got the gold!)

And of course, there’s famous race car driver Ricky Bobby who explains why FIRST is the best:

I agree that being first can be great. But not always, though! After all, sometimes the person who is first is the one who is really the ‘canary in the coal mine’.

Arrows, pioneer, first
The problem with being a pioneer…and being first…

I like the cartoon at the top of this post. Rather than giving participation medals, we should encourage trying and getting your foot in the door. It’s like Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss one hundred percent of the shots you DON’T take.”

We have a real, human need to be chosen. To be the first choice. Look at sports drafts, like in NFL football or the NHL. There’s all this hype about being the number one pick. Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they don’t. But being number one is what people strive for.

Being successful and socially upward isn’t always about being number one. I like the story of Julia Roberts. Her big breakthrough came when she starred inĀ Pretty Woman. Was she the first pick to play the hooker character? NO! In fact, her role was first offered to many others. Including Molly Ringwald (the 80’s starlet of teen films). Julia Roberts wasn’t first, second…not even fifth. And yet she OWNED the role and, to this day, is an A-lister.

I’ve probably been second, or third (or worst) choice for a job. In the end, it doesn’t matter what place. Who cares about what rank you are. What matters is what you do once you get your shot.

So be sure to be socially upward, be sure to:

  • Get your foot in the door.
  • Get started.
  • Get going.
  • Try.
  • Fail.
  • Learn from the failure.

I’ve had co-workers remind me how I wasn’t first choice for a job. It was their way to bring me down. Probably to their (low) level. Sure, it rubs hard. But I used the job experience to get skills, build experience and parlay that to greener pastures. You must do that too.

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