How to deal with the fact that you are not the best

Hey guys,

after this recruitment season, I realized that there will always be people who are smarter/more qualified than me.

There is always someone who works at a more prestigious Firm/Team or simply performs better. Same thing about University, when you go to Cornell (which is a great school), there are "better" students at Havard, Wharton etc.

So when did you guys realize that there is always someone better? And how do you deal with it?

Consulting Case Interview Course

  • 2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. Crowdsourced from over 600,000 members.
  • 11 Detailed Exclusive Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate and 10+ hours of video.
  • Trusted by over 1,000 aspiring consultants just like you.

Comments (31)

Most Helpful
Dec 16, 2018

Work harder and produce more results than any of your peers and you shouldn't ever have anything to worry about. And in the corporate world, always make sure your manager's manager is happy.

Not being better is just a temporary state until you are better, or until you settle or give up. The 3.0 guy/girl that had a hard time getting in the door of the company could very well end up being CEO. Once you enter a new domain, company, environment - in some ways you are given a fresh chance to be the best - in that entity.

Every door is an opportunity. The door you enter to college (be the best in your college), the door you enter to your company (be the best in your company / industry). Be cognizant of the doors you are walking through and what it takes to be the best. Becoming better is only a matter of time. Persistence and hard work are everything.

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." -Dale Carnegie

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 13
    • 1
Dec 16, 2018

As for interviews, if your stats aren't that good, you better be smooth as fuck, know your resume, be clear about leveraging your experience in a way that it fits the role, etc.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Dec 17, 2018

This is a little bit cheesy, but very good advice. Don't ever worry about being "the best" and just do your best and take every opportunity you can.

I literally am that 3.0 guy from the directional state school. While, CEO isn't likely in my path the woman who sat in my chair 5 years ago is now CEO of another publicly traded company. Public Co CFO is certainly a possibility for me, but who knows what the future will hold. I'm not "better" (and likely not smarter) than anyone on this board, but I've continued to do my best and put myself in positions to succeed. It's led to a fulfilling career, pretty good work/life balance and a great family life.

I can say from experience that anyone on this forum can achieve some pretty great things. Luck is always a factor, but putting yourself in the right position is a major factor in luck.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

    • 2
Dec 16, 2018

You just realized this now? You're supposed to come to terms with this earlier on in your life. You cant navigate around it. You just submit to it and do your best.

    • 1
Dec 16, 2018

You (and really everyone on this site) are never going to be the best in their field. The future head of Blackstone is probably not reading this. And that's ok. Work to get better than you were last week. When you make mistakes, figure out why and then strive not to do it again. Ask questions, be curious. Above all, maintain high ethical standards. Work hard. And very good things will come.

You don't need to be the best to make millions. Look how many CEOs of big public companies have done mediocre or worse (hint: most of them). There are more Harvard grads working for state school grads than vice versa (yes, this is because there are hundreds or thousands more times state school grads than Harvard grads, but still). Look at where many of the best leaders went to undergrad. Many of them are good schools but not great. Jamie Dimon went to Tufts. Bob Iger went to Ithaca college.

    • 3
    • 2
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Dec 16, 2018

Kaizen

Dec 17, 2018

To be fair, Tufts University's acceptance rate is 14%. It doesn't have the same patrician name recognition as a Harvard or Princeton, but it's not exactly the school for the common man. You've got to be pretty sharp to crack that nut.

Dec 17, 2018
MMBanker14:

You (and really everyone on this site) are never going to be the best in their field. The future head of Blackstone is probably not reading this.

Not with that attitude. Srs

I come from a pretty mediocre upbringing but as I sit here right now I 100% believe I'm capable of being the CEO of a F500 some day. And you should too. You'll never have the drive to push through if you don't.

Dec 17, 2018

I think a lot of people are capable. A small single digit % of those who are capable actually end up getting the chance to run a F500.

Dec 17, 2018

True but those who run F500 are a tiny % of the extremely successful. Start a company, launch a fund, be the best banker in your sector, solve world hunger etc etc. There's probably a six or seven digit number people on earth that qualify as superstars. That's a lot of room for the people smart enough to ignore limiting beliefs.

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Dec 16, 2018

You picked a bad time to ask this question. Theaccountingmajor just had his account banned.

RIP theaccountingmajor

    • 1
Dec 17, 2018

Say it ain't so!

Dec 17, 2018

I was looking forward to reading more bullshit this morning.

Dec 17, 2018

Finally

Dec 16, 2018

Welcome to life, kid. I learned this at 14. I got a 1470 on my SATs, two kids in my school got 1570s. I got a half ride to a pretty good school, two of the five guys admitted to Harvard got full rides. We hit 50% asset growth three years running in my department, and are still on the chopping block.

    • 1
Dec 16, 2018

Compare yourself to the you of yesterday, last month, last quarter and last year. As long as you're continuously improving, all is well. If you're comparing yourself to others around you, you're not playing the right game let alone stand a chance of winning / feeling good about yourself

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95

    • 1
Dec 16, 2018

I remember when I was younger, I would always compare myself to my peers. I would be jealous that they had a better internship, better organization, whatever. I remember talking to someone who I respect extremely highly and he told me, "never compare yourself to others." The only competition you have is with yourself. Always outperform yourself, every single day you wake up, try to do better than the day before. Never give up, never settle, never become complacent, never get comfortable. It looks like you're working in IB right now, so you're already ahead of the majority of people in the world. Now go secure your bread.

    • 3
Dec 17, 2018

"Comparison is the thief of joy"

Theodore Roosevelt

    • 1
Dec 17, 2018

The TDR quote posted above

Also, you have to switch your mindset from "being better than or as good as XYZ" to "being the best MoneyMaker"... then everything will fall into place

Also - I take issue with a previous poster who said that no one on WSO will be the best in their field.... what the hell man?

Dec 17, 2018

"The only person we should compare ourselves to is our previous self."

Not too high, not too low

Dec 17, 2018

Did it seriously take IB recruiting to show you that you're not the smartest most gifted child of your generation?

Welcome to the real world. The downside is that you're going to have to bust your ass, and that aside from being lucky, this is almost all that will matter.

The upside is that you're going to bust your ass, and aside from a bit of luck, this is almost all that will matter.

Dec 17, 2018

First thing is, you have to define what you mean by "best".

And what I mean is, how do you define it. Person who got the highest SATs, graduated from the best university at the top of the class, or who get the most deals done.

At the of the day, I feel a lot of people here think this is a zero sum game; like, because someone scored 10pts higher on the SATs they're automatically better. Thing is, best/better is really a concept that has a lot of details engrained. Think about someone whose labeled the best at what they do. For example, take LeBron James or Zion Williams. All the sports analyst say he's the next breed of athlete (when he came out) because he was bigger, faster and can basically play all positions. Are these guys technically the best at everything individually, or even overall, maybe not. But being good at basketball isn't just how many threes you can make in a row when you're shooting by yourself. Can you get to practice on time, can you avoid outside influences, are you coachable, do you get along with other players. Those things factor in. There are probably guys out there playing on some court in the city working a day job who one-on-one could wipe the floor with LeBron, but can't handle themselves in a new city every three days; don't have the mindset to keep working; don't have clarity when they start missing shots in the first quarter to come back in fourth. It's the same with banking. On paper someone might be better than you, but what's your mindset. Can you get things done. Can you work through rough days, or do difficult things. That's what makes you best.

    • 2
Dec 17, 2018

You'll likely never be the best. So just try to be the best that you CAN be.

Dec 17, 2018

I learned this when kids started throwing curve balls. I was an all-star - pretty good pitcher, awesome defensive short stop and above average hitter until that point. I only lasted about 2 more years before giving up baseball completely. Baseball was never my passion, but I learned through sports early on that I wasn't "the best"

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Dec 17, 2018

Deal with it by changing the parts of your life that you have control over. For example, you (or I) will never be the smartest/most qualified person at a given firm. But, you can be the hardest working, most curious, most sociable, etc. person there. Those are things that you have the power to do and change, unlike your intelligence or qualifications. There are plenty of success stories on this forum that involve pure hustle and hard work from people who knew they weren't the 4.0 kid from Harvard, but they were still able to achieve their goals by maximizing their efforts in the things they could control.

Dec 17, 2018
MoneyMakerIB97:

So when did you guys realize that there is always someone better?

Never been an issue. Let me know how it turns out.

Dec 17, 2018

Me? I used to make my competition watch as I systematically kill all of their friends before destroying them. Ultimately, my greatest rival became my best friend. Now, I thanklessly remove all the major obstacles in his path, while he swoops in at the end to take all the credit.

In truth, I think that due to my superior training, dedication and bloodline (technically, I am royalty) I should have already far surpassed this friend/rival (especially given the fact that he suffered brain trauma as an infant and is now a total moron). It almost seems like this storyline specifically blocks me from the greatness to which I am entitled.

I can't really be that mad though. I ended up impregnating his blue-haired 'best-friend' (really hot chick, with among highest IQ on the planet + heiress to wealthiest family/company of all time), after killing her boyfriend (LOL!) and she totally loves me, even though I am hardly ever around and spend all my time training to improve myself and exactly 0 time paying attention to her/raising our son. She is always providing me badass resources to improve myself (gravity chambers, DNA modification etc.) so that I can surpass him too, which is nice.

I went down a pretty dark path trying to be the best/beat my rival. For a while, even got a sick forehead tattoo (mirrored by kickass widow's peak) to prove how dedicated I was to beating him. I literally killed myself with all this unrelenting dedication, and it all blew up in my face in the end. I was very fortunate/blessed that my blue-haired baby momma built some sick tech to track down the dragon balls and bring me back to life. Pretty cluth TBH.vegeta

    • 1
    • 4
Dec 17, 2018

MS? Bunch of normies tbh.

Dec 17, 2018

Thanks for all the Advice! I got a little upset because I got no return offers from the BB/EB's I interviewed with. Nevertheless I still have a solid Tier 2 offer. I guess I'll try to get an off-cycle

Dec 17, 2018

I think- therefore I fuck

Dec 18, 2018