What would you prefer to be?
We have a bias in our culture to think that firsts are memorable. And yes, when the goal is really hard but there are no nuances to it, it is usually true. The first to reach the North Pole, the first to go up to Mt Everest, the first to enunciate the governing laws of gravity. So that way we got the Amundsens, and the Newtons of our world. And today’s picture is of quintessential explorer, Roald Amundsen.
Once you reached the North Pole, the second one to get there is just doing that exact thing: reaching the North Pole.
Then there is a different type of goal, that is embedded in our concept of the “Infinite Game”. These are the goals that are “ratchets”. They make it possible only to go forward, never back. The goals that become the “shoulders of giants” that we who come after stand on. These goals have nuances, and we can usually make them “better”, and in some cases, those who come up with something better make us forget who was first. This is how we get the Einsteins, who make a better version, in his case, a more complete explanation of gravity.
Not many know from the top of their heads the first person to make a wristwatch or a camera, but almost everybody has heard about Rolex and Panerai or Nikon, Canon, Leica, and Hasselblad.
If you are not first, don’t despair. There is still a lot of value in being best or just different.