In this life there are two different types of people in society as a whole often takes for granted. The first is the person that is doing something that has never been done before. It’s hard for people to fathom something that no one has ever done before and they spend a large part of the time not appreciating the greatness that is forming. It’s not until something or someone else much more significant validates them will that person get their due. The second is the person that comes behind someone tremendous and is often compared to that person. This phenomenon ranges from an older/younger sibling dynamic or NBA superstars from different eras. No matter what the latter does, no matter how spectacular, they can never to add up anything resembling the predecessor. If they appear to challenge the predecessor, the standard for what they have to do to ascend them keeps changing as they surpass the previous arbitrary metric. I don’t think people are natural born haters, even though let’s be honest they do exist. However, I don’t understand what the issue is because in both scenarios something great is still happening.
One of my favorite entrepreneurs is Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla. He as known as a visionary, genius, and a real-life Tony Stark. No seriously, Robert Downey Jr spent time with him to prepare for his role as Iron Man. Musk is highly respected and regarded as the innovator of his day. However, this was not always the case. The idea of reusable rockets for space missions or an all-electric car was pretty absurd to most. Even today when Musk talks about his childhood heroes saying he was out of his mind at the time for thinking it was impossible upsets him. However, when those billion dollar contracts from NASA started to roll in and Tesla became the most valuable automaker in the US at one point people began to change their tune. I understand that Musk was seen as a bit crazy and rightfully so. People are still probably calling him nuts for thinking about not only getting to Mars but how humans can inhabit it as well. However, the cool thing is that the more success he has, the fewer people see him as crazy and the more they will see him as a mad genius…emphasis on genius!
Michael Jordan is often regarded as the best to pick up a basketball. However, when he came on the scene in the NBA, he was the electrifying young superstar that was often regarded as a ball hog and show off. It was often said that he would score many points, but he won’t lead a team to a title because he is too selfish and a terrible teammate. When Kobe Bryant came on the scene in the NBA he was the electrifying young superstar that was often regarded as a ball hog and show off that was trying to be Michael Jordan. Bryant was also seen as a terrible teammate, especially after saying his teammates were “as soft as Charmin” at practice one time. “Jordan would never do that” many on social media said. However, I seem to recall Jordan punching Will Purdue and Steve Kerr in the face in practice. Its almost as if there is a new villain and we have forgotten all about negatives Jordan had.
If we stay with the NBA dynamic, it appears the more we are removed from the playing days, the more of a diety people become. Now that Kobe Bryant has retired the new villain is Lebron James. When Lebron either joined other superstars or lobbied for them to join him, he was slammed by basketball enthusiasts the world over for not sticking it out with an organization. However, it was Bryant who demanded a trade to the Chicago Bulls when he showed displeasure with the directions of the Lakers. Thus, Bryant is now the player seen as the gold standard while Jordan is pushed even higher as the player that never did anything wrong. All three are great (and to be fair Jordan never had to deal with social media during his playing days) but never fully appreciated at the time. Also, their greatness was so familiar that it was not entirely until after the careers were over in the case of Jordan and Bryant. I am almost sure the same will happen to James.
My point is this. If you are a classical pianist with hopes of playing Radio City Music Hall one day or racing dirt tracks with NASCAR dreams don’t get upset when people mock your journey. People are uncomfortable with greatness in its infancy because they feel if they are not great at something then could you dare believe that you could be. In addition to that, don’t worry about becoming the next this person that person. The world needs you and is waiting for your brand of greatness…not some clone. Besides are you going to listen to someone scared to pursue something on their own. You should show them empathy because they are not terrible people. However, when greatness awaits, you must seek it with reckless abandon otherwise your gift will go to the dream graveyard and the world will be genuinely deprived.