You do need to be number 1 – trust me.

Popular culture has told us for years now that we do not have to be the best at what we do or strive to do, our education systems have largely developed a process by which the class progresses at the speed of the slowest pupil, this is has resulted in over inflated school ratings as the overall bar is lowered and a decrease in specialist subjects being taught at all as they give way to more general subjects that are harder to grade effectively as the factors for evaluation become vast through diversification of the subject matter.

But who actually suffers from this new way of working ? the educators and the governments around the world will have you believe that it makes for a more level playing field, that this kind of broad baseline teaching provides all pupils with the same opportunities, but the reality is something quite different, you see by creating an environment where everybody is taught at the same level in the same way with no recognition of aptitude does not create a level playing field rather it holds back the pupils that would excel and invariably gets them the reputation of troublemaker as boredom sets in, or it highlights the shortcomings of pupils that haven’t got an aptitude for the subject in front of a jury of the cruellest peers, children, so you can see how this is detrimental to both parties, the children that are bored have their future coloured by the term troublemaker, and are treated accordingly and the struggling kids start to lack confidence and become either shy or overly overt as a compensation, both scenarios achieve the exact opposite of the intended result.

This is largely a product of lack of money in the system, and in most cases a spin put on that lack of funding by governments trying to juggle ever decreasing budgets and ever increasing debt, but the irony here is that a countries wealth is a product of it’s population and it’s capability to participate on the world stage, so effectively we stay in a loop forevermore where we do not invest in youth to provide a better future for all, instead we choke the education system and make the youth fight for a future that is uncertain, and we wonder why they lack motivation.

This level playing field extends into adulthood as well, the evidence is excessive, people that did not do well at school becoming billionaires such as Sir Alan Sugar, 1 GCSE and he is worth 1.4 Billion, Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school initially, Deborah Meaden of Dragons Den fame left school before her A-levels and is now worth over 40 Million, and Sarah Millican Failed hers, what sets these people apart is that they pursued what they wanted to do and they did it with a goal in mind, to be the number 1 in their chosen field, now with the vast majority of these examples it could be argued if they are number one in their fields, possibly some people might not find Sarah Millican funny, or there may be people with more money than Deborah Meaden, but if we think about it we would all like to be a pound behind them, or make it as a performer, we just had it beaten out of us in our youth.

That is why I say you DO need to be number one, in your own mind at least, you need to strive everyday to be number one at what you want to do, because if you don’t believe that people in most cases excel at what it is they want to do then just Google around for a while, in fact very few of the most successful people in this world have got a strong academic background, that is not to say that academia is worthless, far from it, the world runs on the work of academics, and without them we would still be in the caves trying to get a fire going, my point is that equality is not only a good thing to try and achieve in society but the only thing, we just have to remind ourselves what it actually means.

Equality should mean the opportunity to excel and be successful, to not live a life in fear and poverty, to not eek out an existence daily just waiting for the cold hand of the reaper, it SHOULD mean the opportunity to live a good and happy life regardless of age, race, religion, ability or sexual orientation, and I think that as a society we have forgotten that, we need people to fall within a budget or a qouta, and the only way to make people fit into statistics is to manipulate the system until those people appear, the fact is nobody is going to do it for you, if you want the life you see when you close your eyes at night you are going to have to fight for it no matter what that takes.

So that is why I say that you need to be number ONE in your own mind that is what you are striving for, don’t look at your heroes and claim that you can’t get there because they have a natural talent, don’t let yourself off the hook by saying they are just better than me, substitute Talent for Aptitude, and Better for More Hardworking, to say that a person is a NATURAL TALENT is often to negate the huge amount work and dedication that they put in everyday to get where they are, and if you put in the same amount of work everyday you would get there too, the education system may have failed you (it equally may not have failed you too) but if you want greatness stop the excuses given to us by a society that has lost it’s ambition, and drive yourself to be Number One at what you want to do, and you will find happiness, some careers are better paid than others and some jobs too, but I promise if you are the best at what you do, at least within your peer group, then you will find a happiness and a calm that goes along with doing something you love.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels