I will never be the most accomplished person in the room. That’s not a statement of pity, far from, actually. I was brought aware of this fact through a conversation with a friend who also struggles with their perception of success. We both acknowledged that we are not the greatest people in our circles, but maybe, that’s a good thing.
Let me preface this by saying that when I claim I will never be the most accomplished person in a room, I’m assuming I am in a situation where I want to be the most accomplished person in said room. There are situations where our excellence is extraordinary and worth being prided over, but there are others where that is not the case. Perhaps I’ll be the most accomplished person in a room filled with toddlers, but that’s not the metric that I compare myself with.
Imagine this scenario. You are a blogger (like me), and we enter a room with a hundred other like-minded bloggers. Our varience is success levels differ, but you consider yourself to be relatively well off. There is someone who is better than you, someone who’s blog has been featured in various publications or who holds a steady income doing what they love, but you’re drifting in the middle.
Are you the most accomplished in this room? No, certainly not. This fact should be rather grim, but I don’t see it that way. Instead, I perceive my averageness a tool in this case. Imagine how bored the most accomplished person in that room is. They’ve been published in the NYT, they have a booming career, they clock in a million views a month. In a room full of average joes like me and you, they must be dying to leave.
Why? We as humans are insatiable. Sure, we may be the highest in that room, but you know there is another room of bloggers just an arm reach away that can relate to you, motivate you, and most of all, challenge you. That is the room we should all aspire to be in.
That’s the point of this article. Be the average joe in a room full of Marie Lu’s or the least accomplished in a room full of Bill Gate’s.
This is the only way you can grow. If we surround ourselves by people that make us the most accomplished in the room, are you truly making the best use of your time, or are you riding on a ego boster fact that youre the best in this small margin of like minded people that happen to be less accomplished than you? If you dwell in this room, don’t be suprised when a person who once was far behind you suprasses you with flying colors.
People who put themself in rooms with people that are better than them grow to be the people running those rooms. Always striving for excellence, even if you think that you’re too insiginifcant, is a skill all aspiring professionals should aquire. The constant grind of being motivated by people that have achieved more in their life helps you gain access to their resources, opportunities, and mindsets. I want to know how Sarah J. Maas runs her day, not my fellow peers that have achieved equal to or less than me. I want to be better, I want to reach higher, and how do I do that?
By striving to be in a room where you have much to learn.
When I first started getting into the writing scene, I posted a Red Queen Fanfic on Wattpad. This was not because I didn’t write orignal novels. Writing fanfic gave me a space on Wattpad, a community of people that have over 100k reads. I pursued people that were better writers than me so I could learn with them. I befriended authors and supported them, so in turn, they supported me. It was a great room to be in.
Let me confess one of my mistakes: I was desperate. Desperation does not look good, neither does asking someone for help with no intention to help them back. Being pushy and entitled is something that all emerging creatives go through, but that’s annoying. People you admire and want to learn from have lives, and they don’t do things for free unless they like you, and to get them to like you, you have to actually interact with them geniunely.
It is very obvious when you are only contacting someone because you want something from them rather that because you actually admire and support them. I’m not very big on instagram, but the difference is stark, and it’s not something you can make up. Here are some tips though.
- Don’t demand them to do anything. No one is expected to do any favors for you.
- Talk to them first, ask them about why they love writing/art or whatever they do, talk to them about their work, be their friend, and if you admire them and want to do something as well, say “I really want to start a project like this too, and I’m kinda lost. You don’t have to help me, but I really love what you do and hope to do something of my own that is great as well.”
- If you ask them to do something for you, offer to do something in return. For example, if you would like them to check out a scene in your book, also offer to check out something for them.
- Be a friend, not a follower. Engage in random conversation not only about your topic at hand. These are the people I love to help the most.
- Join groups designed to help you get on your feet. For writing, for example, The Young Writers Initiative started a group community with over 100 members that are eager to help each other out. Join by visiting our website at tywi.org
- If you ask for help and they give it to you, don’t copy their style/poems/aesthetic.
But if you’re always in a room where you’re constantly chugging towards the uncertain destination we call success, you will run out fuel. Instead, you need to balance your life. This is what I call the Three Room System.
You need your IRL friends and family. Just because you’ve sneaked your way into the big kids club doesn’t mean you should leave the people who love you behind. Play games, watch movies, they are not there to be your writing support group, they’re there to love you for all parts of you.
G.I.T.R, aka Greatest In The Room group is the group that you need to be a part of if you want to get better. Reminder: this does not mean you should try to get into Angie Thomas’s writing groups on your first day. This means striving to seek groups that are at your next milestone. If you want to publish a novel, maybe talk to some smaller writers who have published their novels. Push yourself.
Finally, your Buddy Group. These are all the groups filled with your fellow writer friends regardless of their successes or achievements. Just because you want to join G.I.T.R groups does not mean you should be an entitled prick and ditch these wonderful people who have gotten you to where you are.
Sometimes we don’t even know when someone is being toxic to us, but if you constantly feel drained or irritated talking to them, it’s probably not a healthy relationship. This relates to G.I.T.R because often, people that we look up to and admire are not as great as we think. If they are rude to you or hurting you in some ways, let them go, even if that means some opportunites may slip away. Don’t let anyone push you around because they think they’re better than you.
I won’t be the greatest person in many rooms. There will be people who have achieved more than me, but I have learned not to care. I may not be an awarded author or a millionare blogger, but that’s okay. Not everyone’s path is your path, so never feel bad or behind. You are going at your pace, and if you keep working hard and trying to be the best person you can, you’ll be the greatest person you can be, and that’s all that really matters.
I hope this article motivated or inspired you, and I am eager to hear what you guys thing.