How does the underdog win?

How does the underdog win? Or put another way…

How can the favorite lose?

By that I mean – a person, or group, or team that was a sure bet – the best bet in fact:  the odds were in their favor – even the real money odds in Las Vegas – say.

And yet they don’t pull through.

What prompted this thought was the (to be 100% politically correct) United States Football Annual Championship Game – the Super Bowl – a night of sports, chili, beer, commercials and an occasional great game.

This year the match up was between a team that had won before and had the undisputed best quarterback in the National Football League – the Indianapolis Colts – and a team that was newer to the scene, had never even been in the finals and came from a city that had seen devastation – the New Orleans Saints.

The odds were clear – some thought the game would be a waste – and yet the underdog won.

The easy message and great motivational thought is simple and clear – maybe too much so.  They worked hard – harder than the others, were focused, kept driving, didn’t give up – you know all the clichés.

But this year that just didn’t do it for me. And I started to reflect on what defines “best,” and can one always be best, and if not, what is the solution?

And then I stumbled across this thought from a most interesting source (follow it):

Only the mediocre are always at their best”. Jean Giraudoux

And there you have it.

Best is a moving target. It is not a static metric. As a definer, it is elusive – here today and gone tomorrow – unless you constantly refresh its source and re-evaluate the playing field on a regular basis.

Bottom line – the danger of thinking you are always best is that very quickly you narrow the completive set and, as they say, a minister with a congregation of one has a very small congregation indeed.

The challenge is clear – today you are the best quarterback in the world – tomorrow you might lose – and then you have to up the game – seriously.

So one can claim best – and be the best of some set, no doubt – or strive always to be better – as opposed to best.

What do you think?

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