by Erica Ly


If you grew up with siblings, you are no stranger to the feeling of being compared. If you were an only child, you recognized how proud you could make those around you when you reached a new milestone. Whether it was blatantly expected of you to be the best, or if it had become second nature for you to outshine those around you – to succeed is an expectation as well as the greatest reward. So what happens when you find yourself in a new environment along with everyone else who is classified as “the best”?

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Like running a 400-metre race, you naturally pace yourself, pick-up speed, or sprint when your competitors are close on your heel. The strength and determination to push harder in stressful times form the drive that keeps you on your feet and at your best. Regardless of the situation, for most who have been crowned “the best” at some point, you are aware that you possess the drive to conquer “tough circumstances”, but only for a length of time. Even the strongest glass will crack under prolonged pressure.


Adverse situations never have a predetermined range of time or form. Some of the best may be fortunate and overcome the shadow within a few days; for others, it could take years. It is true that the tough will be able to regain confidence and try again, but how many times are you willing to fall down and rise before you reach your goal?


It is when “the best” look around them and see themselves as the only ones suffering and unable to escape the cloud of adversity, that they will question their title. They begin to think that they are weak and unworthy compared to others. However, falling doesn’t make you weak. Falling a hundred times in the same spot doesn’t make you weak. In fact, depending on the situation, giving up when you’ve truly exhausted your options doesn’t make you weak either. You just need to find a new angle to approach every difficult situation.


When you find yourself suffocated by self-doubt, do not focus on the comparisons. No matter how much it is ingrained in your brain to spot the differences between yourself and those who are doing better, turn your focus to your own mind.

  1. Why did you want to work towards your goal?
  2. Is that still important to you?
  3. In the future, how do you think you would feel knowing you gave up? Would you regret giving up?

Optimism isn’t a switch that can be flicked on and off when we need it. You train your optimism by overcoming adverse situations and finding the hope to believe in yourself and the world.


So if you ever feel inferior during your days in university, the work place, or every day relationships, just remember:

You are the best because you care. You cared enough to get to where you are, and that will be the sole energy that will help you through your darkest times and help achieve your dreams.

Don’t give up, march on. If you need a break, that’s fine too, but remember to get back on your feet. Your perseverance is what makes you the best.


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