Here's why being #1 is exhausting

You want to be the best. That's awesome.


Being the "best" at something could mean various things depending on the situation, the person and (most importantly) the rules to the "game" (if there is one).


Most of us were trained to have a desire to become the best at something (or at least pretty good at it). We all want to become high performers in the field that we are in. It could be creative work. It could be repetitive tasks. It could be a job we love or a job we hate. It could be "I want to be the best parent!". 


There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving to be the best. I do all the time in many parts of my life. I'm sure you do as well (at least I hope to some capacity?).


Now here's were it gets interesting...


In order to be "the best" at something, there's got to be competitive players. There also must be a set of rules in place to determine a winner who qualifies to be dubbed "the best" based on a # of statistics and outcomes to make it true. In basketball (for example) there are a set of rules, players and there is only one outcome. We can determine which team is "the best" (championship winner) and can take it a step further by determining the ultimate best by how many total championships were won (give or take).


Since I'm in the music industry, let's take a look at why this game theory concept is interesting in my field.


Sure, there are metrics like most albums sold, most platinum albums, most streams, most Grammys, most billboard hits, etc. 


Here's why I think this type of game theory can't apply to musicians (or creative people that make art): 


1. It's all subjective

2. There is no collectively agreed upon single metric to determine "the #1 best"


So, in theory, if we strive to be "the best" music creator in our field, we are playing a game that is impossible to win.


What happens when we continue to play a game that's impossible to win? We feel like we keep losing. 


When we feel like we keep losing, we get stressed out. And then it's just downhill from there.


Now, I'm not saying that striving to be the best is all bad. We can use that Jordan or Lebron mentality to push ourselves to become high performers, which is awesome and SUPER beneficial! So let's be clear. I am by all means not saying that we shouldn't strive to be the best in our field.


What I am saying is this: don't obsess over it to the point where it affects your ability to live a fulfilling and abundant life.


In this creative industry, there will always be someone out there that is "better" than you or "has more _____" than you. If we live our lives based on this metric, we are bound to be unhappy most of the time. 


It's a fascinating, simple and important concept to consider.


So what's the solution?


Here's what I think.


Strive to be the best YOU. Don't even think about it in a way where you are competing with yourself (I've said this plenty of times on social media so my bad lol). Become the best VERSION of you. Pay attention to the journey and know there is no destination of bliss. #1 in any field (especially this one) is temporary. There are ebbs and flows. You'll be up one day and down another. That's totally ok! 


The only game you should consider playing is the game of joy, abundance and self fulfillment. 


Let go a little bit. It all doesn't have to be so serious. The world is abundant enough for everyone to enjoy their own success. Customize your life and create your own rules. 


Your game theory is inside of you. 


Unleash your version of that, today.


- Illmind



Ramon "!llmind" Ibanga Jr. is a 2x Grammy Winning/10x Grammy Nominated multi-platinum music producer who's worked with artists such as Kanye West, J Cole, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce & Jay-Z, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Romeo Santos, Lin Manuel Miranda (Hamilton + Moana) 2 Chainz & many more. He is the founder of "Blap-Kits" and "BidPacks NFTs", a series of "beat-making" tools available for music producers which eventually helped pioneer the now multi-million dollar per year "drum kit & sound pack" industry. As a consistent advocate and voice in the music production world, his weekly Spotify podcast "Illmind Put The Loop On" boasts a die-hard music producer driven following, including industry special guests such as Boi-1da, Murda Beatz, Ryan Leslie, Russ, Brian Michael Cox and many more. He is also known for traveling to various cities, bringing together up-coming music creators in "secret studio locations" to network, vibe, play music & engage in their creative community.



  • Paul Harvey

    This was the realest.

  • trunkten

    Totally agree with the point that there always is someone who has better _____ than you. Everything depends on the situation. When you want to be good at something and you ask the question “good for what?”, everybody can be the #1 in my eyes.

  • Jay Diss

    It’s a pretty interesting concept that you opened my eyes to. I will forever keep this in mind! Strive to be the best version of YOU!

  • Patreezi

    I try apply this mindset for life in general, loving the insight! :)

  • 1000 Handz

    Important gems to be mindful of! Love this perspective 🙌

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