Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

How To Win If You’re Not The Best

In order to take home the gold, Usain Bolt did a rigorous 90-minute workout every day and followed a strict high protein diet. Was that the secret to his success?

No. Every of Bolt’s rivals followed a nearly identical routine to his. The difference wasn’t the food or the training. What made Bolt the fastest human alive was that he had rockets for legs.

He may as well have, because Usain has always been faster than his peers. He was the fastest kid in his all-age school by age twelve.

That talent doesn’t take away from all of Usain’s hard work. He worked his ass off. But so does every Olympic athlete.

So what ultimately separates Usain Bolt from the rest is not his workouts, diet plans or work ethic, but his musculature and gift for sprinting.

Every domain in the world is dominated by gifted people like Bolt. Which is why being the best is usually unavailable to us: working hard isn’t enough to make up for your lack of talent if the talented work hard too.

The problem with all this? Only the best get the biggest rewards. 

Ever heard of Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter or Steve Mullings? All Olympic sprinters from Jamaica who were just a few milliseconds slower than Bolt. But who never got million dollar sponsorships from companies like Puma and Gatorade.

Winner takes all.

So if it’s impossible for you to be #1, how do you get ahead in life? 

You stay away from one-dimensional professions and work in a field that demands a selection of different skills. That way you don’t have to be the best at one thing. 

What you lack in one area you can make up for by being better in another area. 

So instead of trying to do the impossible and reach the 99th percentile, you can fight your way to the 80th percentile in a bunch of domains.

If you do it right, you’ll be the only person with that particular skill set. And that’s what counts.

Take Usain Bolt.

For years, nobody could beat him on the track. He was the only. And that’s why he’s the only one from team Jamaica with huge sponsorship deals and a Wikipedia page the length of a short novel.

If you want an inkling of Bolt’s success and other world-class talents like him, don’t bother competing in a zero-sum game. The odds are too stacked against you.

Instead, focus on developing a valuable skill set that sets you apart from the rest. Once the right people recognize your unique abilities, you’ll get the success you want.

Don’t be the best. Be the only.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach