Always do your best. Unless it’s something you’re good at

1, Red Bull Racing Au, Jamie Whincup, V8 Supercars, Bathurst 1000, Bathurst 1000 2014

Do your best. Try your best. Strive to be your best.

We say these things a lot. To our children, to other people. To ourselves.

Recently, I have started wondering exactly how much we actually mean it, though. Because I’ve started to really notice how much people who try and excel are hated, berated and turned on.

Our week in Bathurst for the Bathurst 1000 really started my blood boiling on this matter. It confirmed to me that what we actually mean, as a society, when we say Do your best is Try your best unless what you’re doing is something you’re actually good at. If you’re skilled you should probably just try to be sub-par. Or, you know, a just little better than crap.

I couldn’t even count the times I heard the words “As long as Jamie Whincup doesn’t win” being uttered, fans of all creeds. Even some Red Bull ‘fans’. I have to be honest, I followed Craig to this team and didn’t have any kind of feelings toward Jamie but he has grown on me.

We meet him every year and he is always lovely, patient and gracious when people (ie Ellie) only have eyes for Craig. Yes, these things can be put on, but we see/run into (stalk?) him in all kinds of places and it never seems put on. And, believe me, I’ve been on the receiving end of some not-so-pleasant drivers and their not-so-pleasant moods as well as witness to some cranky pants tanties to rival my three year old’s. Such is the gift of a paddock pass and being able to catch those unguarded, passionate moments.

The thing that gets me about this, other than the fact that I genuinely like the guy and think he gets a raw deal, is that all he is doing is what we’ve all been told to do; his best. It just happens that his best wins him races. Lots of them. I don’t know why being driven, passionate and good should make someone a target.

I don’t think we have to like or be a fan of someone to appreciate their skill and show some respect. I don’t think it’s our right to tear somebody down just because they continue to strive, grow, challenge themselves and win (at whatever it is they do) even at the top of their game.

I don’t just say these things because I follow the winning team. I am loyal, I will follow through wins and losses – I’ve been a devout Penrith Panthers fan through many years of winning droughts. I don’t just say it because I feel so very sad when I hear the boos and jeers for a man who just gave his all to entertain us.

I say it because I worry about what we are creating by telling our children to strive to be the best they can be and then showing them that being the best means those around you can and will use that against you. Our actions are certainly doing the speaking and stunting their potential. How can it not?

I may not be a fan of Shane Van Gisbergen (man I hope you guys watched the race, or at least the end so I don’t sound like a complete nut) but I know he was running a killer race and felt absolutely crushed for him when his car wouldn’t start from the pits at the end of the race. He was good, he was focused and I appreciated his abilities even if I wasn’t actually keen on him winning over my guys.

Do you think we (as a society) ask our children to do something we don’t like to see in others?

Linking up with Jess for #ibot

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8 Comments

  1. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? The Tall Poppy Syndrome seems so entrenched here in Australia. We are so happy to barrack for the underdog, but once people achieve a certain level of skill or success that seems to be a red flag to start tearing them down.

  2. UGH that race, that car not starting, I had goosebumps. And then to run out of gas – what a race. I don’t get why it’s so hard for others to give credit when it’s due!

  3. So I have no interest in car racing at all, (sorry), but I do worry about our cultural tendency to cheer for the underdog. Sure he might need a bit of encouragement, but it usually ends up being that those who have worked hard at something, or are just naturally talented at it, are then ignored. That’s not ok. That doesn’t foster any real drive in young people. We need to be impressed by effort I think, in all things. Attitude matters so much more than anything else in my book.

  4. It’s the Tall Poppy Syndrome at work again isn’t it. It’s as if, by tearing others down, people are trying to lift themselves up – to show their superior knowledge – when in fact all they are doing is showing their ugly heart.

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx

  5. Janet pretty much summed up what I was thinking when I read your post. I find that the people that do this are the ones that want what that person has but are scared to admit it and then instead, they tear someone else down instead of being happy for them and encouraging. It’s very sour.

  6. It happens in all fields unfortunately – there was the period in tennis when Roger Federer was winning everything and people would cheer if someone unexpectedly beat him. It’s not right because these people can’t help excelling in their field and should’t be hated for being so good and so consistent. We see this tall poppy syndrome time and time and time again – it really is not how I want my kids to act or behave when they get older.

  7. We do back the underdog, on a whole, don’t we? Shame it’s at the expense of other people who try so hard!

  8. Um…we don’t have a TV so no I didn’t watch the race, but yeah Australians do seem to be nasty to others who are successful!!

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