The GOAT epidemic: How everyone became the greatest of all time without trying.


Image created by Dwayne Adderley using Kittl

“The greatest of all time.” You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, it appears to be used everywhere. As of late, this title is given to everyone from athletes to the chef at your favorite restaurant. But, pause and consider this, how can anyone be the greatest of anything if time has not yet ended? This concept defies the linear progression of time, and as of this writing, time goes on. It is the equivalent of crowning this article as the best ever, without reading the entire thing.

The term GOAT exists in a bubble of arrogance as it elevates the present moment to a pedestal of unparalleled significance. It’s as if by declaring someone as the greatest now, we can somehow freeze the universe and stop the march of time and progress. This is delusional; adorable, but delusional, nonetheless.

Let’s also ponder the statute of limitations for the GOAT title. Is there an expiration date on being the greatest? Do we take it back when someone better comes along? Or is it a “once crowned, always royalty” deal? The criteria is as clear as mud, flavored with a hint of subjectivity, and a generous portion of that era’s biases. In my opinion, GOAT seems to depend on the collective memory and attention span of society. Given the current digital age, we all know that lasts as long as a loose leaf on a windy day.

The term, “Greatest of all time” has been stretched to cover just about everything. It’s like handing out medals just to show up. The value of being the “greatest” has gotten watered down to the point that I feel that I’m the GOAT whenever I find the shortest route to the office.

This also makes me wonder how greatness is measured. Is it determined by the number of trophies on your mantle? Is it an opinion? Trying to pin down the “GOAT” is like nailing jelly to the wall — messy and pretty much impossible. It seems like we really can’t decide, so we end up arguing about it like it’s a sport in itself.

In the end, calling someone, “The greatest of all time” is more about making us feel good. It’s a nice thought, but really, as meaningful as claiming you own the moon. It sounds cool, but what does it actually mean? Next time you hear someone called the GOAT, maybe just nod, smile, and remember it’s just our funny way of saying, “Hey, you are pretty good at this.” The greatest of all time? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.



Dwayne Adderley, MBA,LPQ

Business Consultant, Entrepreneur, and Writer. Subject matter expert in Business Operations, Aviation and Loss Prevention.