How to Hold Up When You Fall Short

Thursday, August 4, 2022

What is it like to be the less super of family greats? Jeb Bush’s governorship to brother George W.’s presidency? Venus Williams‘ 49 tennis singles titles to sister Serena’s 73? Livingston Taylor’s musical career (what, who is he?) to superstar brother James Taylor?
On the one hand, you’re really good; on the other, a shadow of comparative inferiority will always hover around you.
While most of us won’t ever know that particular level of “exceptional” inferiority, most all of us will be able to relate to the more down-to-earth experience of coming in last for something, or what it’s like to be the least successful* in one’s family or peer group, or what it means to really mess up. The question is, in those very human circumstances when your relative deficiency has been exposed and you are left to face the world – or just face yourself – how do you hold yourself up? How do you maintain your sense of being a person of goodness and worth?
That’s the question I’m addressing in project I’m working on. For both deeper understanding and instructive inspiration, I’m gathering information on how people handle this situation – what their experiences have been and whether they have any philosophies, strategies and/or systems to help themselves hold up when they fall short. I’d love to hear from you! For your privacy and my ability to manage responses efficiently, please click here to respond.
As for how your information will be used…that’s up to you. You can anonymously provide your response strictly to contribute to my general understanding or you can stipulate that your experiences/ideas are available for reference, whether identifiable or not identifiable to you.
I’m super excited to see what people lean on and will share my findings in a future column.
To holding up!
*as indicated by money, power, talent, achievement, status, rank, property, etc….the usual metrics.