Pick up a history book-any history book-and see how far into it you get before you come across a story about some leader, somewhere, striving for supremacy. Biblical history gives us the stories of Nebuchadnezzar and Herod. Medieval history gives us countless examples of leaders and civilizations who went to great efforts to rule their worlds. Napolean was driven to rule the world, as was Hitler. And, more recently, Dictators like Sadaam Hussein-who didn't attempt to overtake the world, but positioned themselves as the supreme rulers in their various societies.
I have to ask myself-where does this drive for supremacy come from? I don't believe that, in all honesty, many of us would be satisfied in a position of supremacy. Why? Perhaps I'm opening myself up here, unnecessarily, but I think that it would be quite depressing to be the supreme anything-to be the best at anything, to be the heap of the pack, king of the hill, the acknowledged "king" of anything. Now, I know-those of you who know me, your collective jaws just hit the floor! Please-hear me out!
All of us, to some degree, need some measure of extrinsic motivation. We can argue the validity of that statement later (I can tell you, though: I'm right). I, for one, to some degree, desire (need) the admiration of those who I acknowledge as my superiors-whether in terms of talent, or social standing, or in terms of heirarchical position in a work environment. It means something to me to have that acknowledged superior admire me, say well done, pat me on the back, give me kudos. I think that, to some degree, it means something to you too!
So-I strive to be better, to receive more of that positive feedback, because it, in part, drives me! (For the record, folks, I'm cringing here! I'm admittedly not usually quite this open, and it's a little difficult). Perhaps this is an earmark of successful people-the drive to receive affirmation from their superiors, because, in a sense, it drives them to constantly attempt to achieve more.
Which all leads to my point: if, in fact, that positive affirmation from authority figures-from superiors-is part of what drives me, do I simply lay down and die when I reach the top? When there is nobody left who I admire as greater than me, does my motivation die? I'm, quite frankly, deathly afraid of that (not that I'm anywhere near the top of ANYTHING-don't get me wrong Richard!). But, what if I do get there? Does the journey cease to matter to me anymore?
I think Simba said, "I just can't wait to be King!" I respectfully disagree! I'm scared to death of being king! Kingship doesn't interest me in the least! Because, who pats the king on the back, says well done? Nobody of any import, I would contend! It's the journey toward kingship-and the affirmation that the "king" gives along the way-that I enjoy!
So, I'll continue striving-continue to bask in any occasional praise I receive from the acknowledged authorities in my life. But, hear this: if I ever feel like I'm getting close to the top, don't be suprised if I move on!