Don’t Be Number 1

I read today on Medium about a guy, who is in top 1% in several areas, but mostly in World of Warcraft.

Well, he was, when he was 17. Today he describes his experience in details because obviously, we all would like to know how to spend thousands of hours in a basement hiding from our parents and from our lives to become a legend of World of Warcraft.

The legend that nobody remembers a few months later. And nobody ever will.

The author seems to assume that we all envy him his accomplishment of becoming better than 99% percent of all the players in the world.

Well, he’s probably right.

We do want to become top 1%. Why?

Because we are idiots, that’s why.

A modern human is a curious creature. Somehow it is not good enough for him to be excellent at what he does. He also needs to know that 99% of other professionals are worse than him. Because apparently, your hamburger cannot taste good unless you eat it in a company of 99 friends and all their hamburgers taste awful.

Only then you can be happy.

What a fantastic style of life!

Well, in my little unprofessional world it doesn’t really matter how many people you beat while becoming a master, as long as you are a master.

You don’t have to be top 1%. You don’t have to be top 10%. Hell, you don’t have to be top at all!

As long as you are happy doing good stuff for other people. As long as you make them happy in the long run.

Why wouldn’t it be enough?

I am in fact top 1% and in quite a few areas too. I am a top English speaker in my area. I am a top writer in my country. I am a top internet singer in my language. But the thing is I never wanted to be.

I kept doing my stuff, I loved doing my stuff, I wanted to be good at my stuff, and one day I woke up and suddenly I am top 1%. It just happened. A byproduct. Ok, sure, why not. But I don’t see a reason to boast about it or see it as an accomplishment.

The value of what I do should not be based on comparing myself with others.

It’s all about the goal you set.

And being a top 1% is a pretty pathetic goal. You can easily end up wasting years of your life doing stuff nobody needs for accomplishments that nobody will remember or care for.

So don’t listen to success crusaders. Do something meaningful. Do something you love. Do something others want.

Don’t live by the score.

You don’t have to be the best to be good enough. You don’t have to be a winner to be happy. So cheer up!

Have fun and stay unprofessional.


Don’t Be Number 1 was originally published in Completely Unprofessional on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Add Comment

Stay unprofessional!