Right from the title of this post, many of my ambitious and aggressively competitive readers would have already started judging me as lazy, unmotivated and purposeless individual, in dire need of counseling. Fine by me!! However, if you are not completely put off by this thought and do not hold such a radical opinion against being no. 2, you can continue reading this!! 😉
Personally, I have never been a fan of the dog-eat-dog concept and do not believe in the “rat race” – a pointless pursuit. During my school days I was divinely content being an average student mostly, and gleefully watched my best friends among the top rung performers. This left me with a lot of free time that I could utilize creatively, cultivating hobbies. Later on, when I did manage to stand among the toppers, I found that the No.1 spot had its share of disadvantages as well. The view from the top is seriously over rated. May be that’s why they say it’s always lonely at the top. Having said that, I am not propagating lackadaisical attitude or idleness. Also, I am not against striving for excellence in any way. For me, its certainly not worth losing your sleep and peace of mind for the No. 1 rank. Besides, your biggest competition will always be your own-self.
When you are not the No. 1 you get to focus on other aspects and use your time in more prolific ways than working hard to retain the crown.
I remember from my “Positioning” class in “Marketing Management” course during my MBA, an interesting example. One of the most popular and catchy marketing campaigns in the history is of Avis Car Rental Service. It was the no.2 brand in the service after Hertz. Its tag-line “We Try Harder”, established its challenger – number 2 – brand status behind Hertz. It implied that Hertz was too big to care about its customers. In all its promotions, Avis openly acknowledged that it was the Number 2 brand. And offered customers various reasons why they should choose to deal with the number 2 brand, including coming to Avis because its queues were shorter!!
That’s quite an upbeat and distinctive outlook towards the No.2 rank.
The No. 1 spot which is quite elusive and addictive can create stress leading to breakdown which ultimately causes dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Did I say “Unhappiness”? But how is that possible because isn’t the No. 1 spot supposed to make you happy!! Well there you go.. This conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel, ultimately reaching no where and only tiring itself. The phenomena we commonly refer to as RAT RACE!
Blame it on my spiritual mind, or the sense of self-awareness being more expressive than peer pressure; I have always found myself short of understanding this maddening concept of competition and contest.