Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Is Second Best?

I was at home the other day and for the first time in ages turned on daytime TV for some background noise and happened upon a chat show that was discussing: Is Second Best? The argument put forward was whether having to deal with defeat or finishing in second at an early stage of your career more helpful in the long term than instant success? This got me thinking so I wanted to share my thoughts with you on this subject.

Personally I feel instant success can be detrimental to long term success. There are exceptions to this rule but on the whole the quicker success is achieved the shorter the success lasts. Finishing in second place or losing out to others in things like competitions, job interviews and auditions is a test of character. It is at this time where we find out if the thing we are pursuing is truly what we want to do with our life. When this happens we can either accept it and say that we aren’t good at something or we can actually be proactive and tell ourselves we want to be the best and work even harder to become better than the competition. The one thing we can’t do is keep going in to competitions, job interviews and auditions thinking we are the best when we are getting knock back after knock back just hoping that one day we will win something, you have to earn the right to call yourself the best and you do that by working hard and delivering the good when it matters.

Having to go through a period of finishing second makes us appreciate it more when we finally win as we know what it has taken to get there and we know the experience of finishing second all to well. It is also good to start by finishing second and then finishing first as it shows your development and progress whereas if you have finished first from the start it has harder to see how you have improved. To succeed in this world it’s not just your talent that will get you to the top as you also need a strong character to make it happen.

Without a strong work ethic and support success can be taken away as quickly as it is gained. Take TV talent contest winners like Hearsay, David Sneddon, Steve Brookstein etc All these guys were thrust in to the limelight after winning singing competitions just for them to have short term success followed by a fall from fame within a very short space of time. If you compare Hearsay to Liberty X who finished second in the Popstars series who went on to have more chart success or David Sneddon who finished first in Fame Academy and Lemar who finished third who again went on to achieve more chart success. Its not about the position you finish in it is what you do after the result that counts.

If you ask most successful people they will tell you tales of times where they didn’t get the part or win the competition. Just because you only see someone on the telly when they are famous don’t assume that happened over night and they won everything on the way to getting there.

So in summing up to me finishing second is best when you are developing your talent as it can teach you much more than winning ever can and when you are developing your talent it’s not success that is important, its learning which is the important part.

What do you think? Do you agree? Have you experienced finishing second? And has finishing second motivated you on to better things? Let us know by joining in our topic of the week by going to:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

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