Being Top · Being Yourself · Essay · Feelings · Insecurity

Staying At The Top

We struggle, we work hard and we yearn to reach the top and become ‘somebody’. What really happens when you actually reach the top?

You struggle to remain there. Suddenly, you are faced with the compulsion to earn the label of consistency. If you don’t perform all that well again, what will people say? They might dismiss you as a one-hit wonder. And, when you do well again, you are faced by a few new things.

People start dumping a plethora of expectations on you. You are expected to not only maintain the level of your performance, but climb even higher on the ladder. One drop, one small drop in what you do, even if you can’t actually help it, renders people incredulous and they act all shocked around you. They tut sympathetically or ask sarcastically/skeptically, “What happened?” How irritating. Like one single setback can erase all the good work you did. Humph.

And then there are people who take you for granted. Let’s say you get good scores on a series of tests. Good, you’re happy about it, the people who truly love you are happy about it, and you’re motivated to continue your good scores streak.
Then, you find yourself nervous and unprepared for a forthcoming test. You haven’t been able to prepare yourself so as to be confident of even getting a passing score. You share your anxiety about the test with like-minded people.
You get the irritating reply, “Oh! You don’t have to lie to us that you’re unprepared and all that. You’re going to do well anyway. It’s us who have to worry about the test. It isn’t a problem for you.” They say it like your past scores alienate you from them. There is even a faint hint of sarcasm and envy carefully melded in their words. You try to convince them that it’s not true. You really are in the same boat as them. But to no avail.

Staying at the top fosters new feelings. POP! The fear of failure plunges through you like an unseen knife. You begin to identify yourself with your one talent only, and join everyone else in associating yourself with a flat, one dimensional and cardboard personality, who just can’t afford to fail!
Self confidence may be be bolstered to over confidence. At that point, you may start to underestimate what you have to do. And then, poof! You crash and fall, and even if it’s a slight fall, you beat yourself with worry about it. Insecurity takes over, and you become more afraid than ever to make mistakes. You forget that to make mistakes is okay and it’s a part of the learning process. You aim for improvement without making allowances for errors.

Everyone who’s BTDT, you’re not alone. There are lots of people who feel the same as you. I have, too. After coming to terms with my feelings, I’ve realized that its just best to let go, and be yourself without being too hard on yourself about it. It’s okay to feel vulnerable now and then, to have faults, and to be different.
At first, some will ask why you do it, and later ask how you did it. Don’t fear anyone’s judgement, keep your faith in yourself strong, and move in the direction you choose to, without struggle, but with fun instead, every step of the way. 🙂

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