You don’t have to be the best

Bruce Springsteen wasn’t the smartest kid in school. His writing didn’t win poetry contests. He wasn’t the most original—Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger paved that road—and he wasn’t lauded by his guidance counselor as a candidate for Juilliard.

But when other kids were partying young Springsteen was sitting in a room by himself, somewhere in Freehold, writing and honing his musicianship. Today at age 63, Springsteen’s still not the best guitarist, or the best singer, and his albums aren’t changing the face of music. But that doesn’t matter. He’s the best at what he does, maintaining a formidable work ethic cranking out albums and delivering marathon rock shows to his fans.

There’s always the kid who gets straight A’s. There’s always the artist who scores a lucky hit. But Springsteen’s strategy—and it’s one you can use—is to out-work the other guy over the long haul, and continue to learn and grow and share and be the best you can at what you do. There’s a song about that somewhere.