You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Success
Don’t feel guilty about doing well just because not everyone is
When I was a kid, my younger cousin who was and still is more like a brother and I spent most weekends together, either at his house or mine. Much of that time together was spent playing whatever video game console was popular at the time.
When we were really young it was Nintendo, then Sega — and from there it was Playstation 1, 2 and 3. We played sports games, almost exclusively. Hockey and Football were our favorites. So we’d go head to head in Madden or NHL Ninety something, we were more or less of equal skill levels and it was usually a tight game.
However, I vividly remember trying less hard, if I was starting to pull away or blowing him out. Now, this could be because my cousin was a sore loser and he tended to be an asshole for the remainder of the weekend when he did lose badly.
Or it could be because, for as long as I can remember, somewhere deep inside me feels as though, I should feel bad for winning, especially at the cost of my loved ones losing. So much so in fact, rarely did I give it my all.
I don’t know what this says about me exactly, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a byproduct of a lack of a sense of self-worth. An outward but subconscious display of how little I valued my self, my own happiness, and success. It’s tangible evidence, I have always put other people’s happiness and feelings, especially those of my loved ones — over my own.
Now, while my intentions may have been pure, this habit of mine was belittling to both myself and those I was competing against.
I know my example seems a bit extreme or as if I perhaps read a bit too much into letting a younger family member keep pace with me in video games to protect their feelings — but I picked this example to demonstrate my point and message because it embodies both perfectly.
While winning isn’t everything, it’s almost exclusively the point of competition. It should be what we aim for the result to be each time we step on the field or court, regardless of who stands on the opposite sideline across from us.
More importantly, this principle doesn’t just apply to competition or sports — it applies to the game of life as well. We don’t have to, in fact, we must not turn down our shine solely in the name of helping those around us appear brighter.
Again, it isn’t helping anyone, even if we intend for it to. It belittles both us and them. It is a condescending practice, one I’ll do my best to not even bestow upon my young children, for they should know they’re not always going to win and learn how to lose with their dignity intact and a bit of grace.
As I stated, I mean this both literally and as a metaphor for all else we do in life. Don’t hesitate to give it your all and go full throttle just because others, whether opponent or teammate, are afraid or straight up too lazy to.
You don’t have to hesitate to display your strengths just because other’s weaknesses are blatantly showing. Go all out. You don’t have to be less of an asset just because someone else is a liability.
No, on the contrary, we often have to make up for the weakest link’s shortcomings and be even more of an asset than usual. We find ourselves with more work, working longer and harder, in ways and on days we shouldn’t have to — just to be operating at full strength.
This is what the liabilities within an organization do, whether intentionally or not. Out of laziness or lack of ability or knowledge, the result is the same. Worse yet, the truly toxic weaker links or runner ups behind you will often deliberately try and make you feel guilty for your success, in comparison to their consistent failures. Somehow, they feel entitled to both the success you’ve found and its spoils. At a bare minimum, they’ll tell you or others you’re making them and everyone else look bad.
Fuck them — ignore them. They’re the toxic liability of the team for a reason.
Always do your best, shine your brightest, and sing your loudest. Speak boldly and confidently, regardless of who it’s to and despite who else may be in the room. Don’t play down to your competition or opponents, play every game like it’s your last — because it could be.
Again, I mean this both literally in terms of actually competing or performing, but also in a metaphorical sense, as a principle we should apply to our lives as a whole. You owe it to both yourself and those around you, your loved ones, those in your organization, on your team, and even those on the opposing end. In whatever it is you’re doing, give a hundred percent of what you have, one hundred percent of the time, and you’re practically guaranteed to find a sufficient amount of success somewhere. If only by law of averages.
At the very least, nobody will ever be able to say you didn’t give it everything you had or leave it all on the field, and you’ll never have to regret not having done so, especially for someone else’s sake.