One of the famous lines of Talladega Nights with Will Farrell was "If you're not first, you're last." The movie is a slap stick comedy, and the statement is not necessarily meant to make sense or be completely accurate. However, it does hold some truth that what is recognized in life or sports or business is that nothing else matters if you aren't number one. Being number one in life can be a great goal that can help you accomplish some amazing things and learn a lot about yourself, however, in relationships, sometimes it requires us to intentionally NOT be number one. It requires us to be selfless by putting our own needs and desires second to someone else’s. Here are a few ideas on not being number one all the time:
1. Have empathy for what the other person is going through
It's important for us to have an awareness of other people's struggles. Everyone is usually going through something, either personally or professionally, and if we can have a consistent awareness of that fact, then we can help others through their struggles. Forbes recently wrote an article saying empathy is the most important quality in a leader.
2. Assume the best in others
We have a choice to assume the best in others or assume the worst. Even if the latter might be true
in some cases, the former is just a simpler and happier way to live. In addition to that, when you
assume the best in someone, they will assume in the best in you based on your example, and you
have the ingredients to build a strong relationship.
3. Recognize your own selfishness
Typically, the more selfish someone is, the less he or she realizes it. It's important for us to have the ability to have awareness when we are being selfish, make the necessary adjustment, and then make the decision to be unselfish. However, it all starts with that initial awareness.
4. Develop healthy habits
We talk about healthy habits a lot in our blogs. Eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, working hard, and finding a passion to pursue help us feel happier mentally, physically, and emotionally.
5. Consume only what you need
Don't be the toilet paper hoarder! Sometimes when we lose something or a shortage occurs, then our responsibility is to be adaptable, be creative, and find alternative solutions. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. It's important for all of us to consume less and have contentment for what we do have and focus on giving more.
6. Practice forgiveness
Forgiveness gives us peace within ourselves. Holding onto a grudge or anger usually only hurts oneself, but by practicing forgiveness, we can unlock the power of freedom from negative emotions.
7. Be content
Contentment is being happy where you are and the ability to have enjoy in the moment. Sometimes it's important to learn from the past and plan for the future but much of our time should be spent seeking happiness with the moment in front of us.
8. Define success by the health of your relationships.
One of my favorite all time movies is 'The Family Man' with Nicholas Cage. He gets a 'glimpse' of going from being a super successful CEO but no close relationships to being a middle class dad with a loving wife and family. He discovers which one is more fulfilling. Simply pursuing healthy relationships is more important than any type of earthly rewards like money or power.
9. Let others get the glory
It's okay for us to want to pursue personal glory in our life, but their are certain times in life where our focus should shift to helping others achieve that glory for themselves rather than achieving it for yourself. Sometimes people need a leader to set an example of success, but other times they just need a #1 fan. It's up to us to assess the situation and make the right decision.
10. Help someone else reach their potential
This one is a piggyback from the previous one, but true fulfillment comes from finding a passion in helping others. By helping someone unlock their true potential, it's one of the greatest services we can provide. I encourage each of us to pick out a couple of the above ways that we can practice more selflessness this week. Which ones resonate most with you?