Most coaches say caustic things about second place — all very motivating for young athletes.
…in the spiritual tradition
…second place is a position of honor.
In one of our ancient texts, Paul, says something along these lines…
When you awaken to the spiritual life — the “Divine-in-you” life…
Your world changes.
Your soul-wardrobe changes.
You start to wear kindness with the same comfort you wear pants.
You wear compassion and quiet strength like you wear a shirt.
You find yourself feeling content…
When you take second place.
It is a mark of spirituality, our tradition tells us…
- when you are just as fulfilled by somebody else’s victory, as with your own.
- when you are as content with a friend getting her dream job, as if you had.
- you are happy for another marriage to flourish, even though yours is struggling.
- you derive as much satisfaction from somebody else’s kids succeeding, as from your own.
See that in your life, the ancients tell us, and you’re thriving.
Our freedom and peace is deepened, when someone else’s success does not threaten your own sense of well-being.
“You will wear quiet strength . . . like you wear a shirt.”
The spiritual journey trains us to see our own deep, Divine worth. The further on the journey we go, the less our well-being is threatened when others outshine us.
In fact, the journey creates an inner place of quiet strength from which we enjoy supporting those who previously threatened us. We find deep satisfaction, championing somebody else doing well. Quiet strength eclipses those inner twinges of self-condemnation and envy.
Generosity of heart is a sign our souls are growing. It indicates our hearts are becoming free — settling into the quiet strength of the Inner Divine.
This week, join me in taking an inventory of your soul.
Does your heart twinge when yours is second place?
When a co-worker outshines you?
A friend out-succeeds you?
And if you see something, good for you!
Standing outside our habitual responses and observing them — this is a powerful first step toward growth and transformation.
Let’s watch our souls together this week.
I remember getting second place more than once in law school classes, it was a very conflicting experience. The obsession over getting first place can easily subsume the desire for justice, which is almost totally gone from out legal system as it is and this is reflected in many law schools. I know this is very anecdotal but justice-as-business leads to an obsession over first place and places a priority upon searching for less than ideal qualities in people who will hold important positions in society. An obsession with getting first place is probably, usually harmful to one’s spirit.
alex: sorry it took so long to turn approve your comment. my notification got turned off. thanks for the thoughtful input. i have a dear friend who went into a legal career. he’s older now, has the experience to look over the field and assess it. he says things very similar to you. thanks.