Why Being the Best is Not the Key to Happiness (And What Is)

Posted by on September 29, 2017 in Conscious Living, Happiness & Humor, Thrive with 8 Comments
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Audrey Woods | Tiny Buddha

woman at sunset celebrates

“A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.” ~Jillian Michaels

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling a bit down on life, I was surfing through Facebook and found myself getting more and more upset.


There were weddings and vacation photos and posts about promotions and new purchases and all the great things that happen in people’s lives.

These were my friends, and I couldn’t understand why I felt so unhappy. Why did I feel a pit in my stomach that I wasn’t good enough when I heard about someone getting the job of their dreams? Why was I so thrown by other people’s lives going well?

That’s when an idea that has been bumbling around my mind for a few months hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized something I’ve always known but never had words for.

I realized the evil of my own ego.

Related Article: 10 Important Things You Should Know About Happiness

Ever since I was young, I was that kid in school who needed to be the best, who needed all the awards.

I took something I was good at (academic achievement) and created an identity around it, visualizing myself as the Best. And I succeeded. I was valedictorian. I graduated Summa Cum Laude.

I got the awards, the grades, the standardized test scores, the recognition, all of which was meant make me happier. It never did. 

With an identity centered around being the top dog in my field, I became obsessed with the people who were better.

There was always someone who achieved more than me, or someone else who got an award I wanted. Even if I was number one in the class, there were always those points that I missed or the looming fear that I couldn’t do as well on the next test.

I made myself miserable trying to placate the beast inside me, a beast that was never content, could never relax in the glory of what I had accomplished. It always wanted more, more, more.

I walked away from that academic life almost a year ago and started writing books. Right away, I realized I had to fight that ego, suppress the beast inside me that still wanted to be the best.

Writing has always been my joy in life and I didn’t want to do it for money, fame, or success. I wanted to do it because it was something I’d always wanted to do. 

For months I fought down my ego and tried to focus on the simple joy of creating stories and playing with characters.

Related Article: How to Be Happy: 8 Life-Changing Tips from Happiness Experts

I certainly slipped up a number of times and I still compare myself to others on bad days (like the one described above), especially other writers my age. But on the days I can put that self-image aside and just be, those are times of true bliss, the days I’m happier than I’ve been since I got my first A.

Perhaps you won’t agree, but I’m starting to believe that a significant portion of the bad things in life stem from our own gluttonous egos.

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8 Reader Comments

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  1. 1478132649173112@facebook.com' So Teenish Fashion says:

    Hi! Great post! <<<— Hi I am Jessica I am 21 years old I live in USA I love making new friends please Follow me I will Follow you Back and inbox You I promise

  2. 150741425266830@facebook.com' Colleen Oldham says:

    Being who you are is the best. Not trying to up someone else or feeling like you have to have the best of everything. Life is about giving yourself to others than you can feel your best.

  3. 10203418394620226@facebook.com' Russ Ridlington says:

    Strive to be your own personal best.

  4. 10206535850331419@facebook.com' Jacquie Schmall says:

    Instead of a stand alone competition of incredible athletes, the Olympic spirit of competition has become part of everyday, everything, and winning a reflection of success in everything. We don’t measure the athlete when they are not the winner, and lose sight of the small successes each one of them has had along the way. Winning is fleeting. The garden that is everyday life is not about finding the most beautiful flower in it, but seeking the ongoing joy at seeing each flower for its own beauty.

  5. 10153558774771774@facebook.com' Liam Havard says:

    Be better than you were yesterday.

  6. 419268154925083@facebook.com' Diane Berge says:

    Just starting to understand greed? I think it underlines almost all our problems..personal and global

  7. 1670232366596373@facebook.com' Dot McGillis says:

    Not news…

  8. 10153133634957616@facebook.com' Julena Meroiti says:

    YES xx

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