Are you the world’s best second-chair flutist, Key Club treasurer, or yearbook section editor? Probably not. There are too many people in the world to best all of them, or even to know for sure how you rate.
But you can be the best in your world.
What if you so excelled as the second-chair flutist in your high school orchestra that you’d be missed if you transferred to a different school? What if your work ethic was so good that you actually made the first-chair flutist even better? What if your passion for music was so contagious that you lifted up the entire group and made everyone that much happier to be involved?
You’d be the best in your world.
You can do the same thing scooping ice cream at a part-time job, volunteering at a shelter, or taking pictures for the yearbook. What would constitute the very best for this particular time, place, and group? If you can meet or beat that vision, there’s no need to measure up against other scoopers or volunteers or photographers. You’re already the best in your world.
The world is a big place. Your world is not. And nobody is better informed or positioned than you are to be the best at something in your world. Instead of worrying about how you’ll compare with everyone who’s applying to college, start by making the world smaller. It is your world, after all.
Here’s a past post detailing author and Stanford Business School professor Jim Collins’s take on “creating a pocket of greatness.”