We’ve all heard the expression “The early bird always gets the worm”, but if we put that thought into a much different perspective, it’s the second mouse that usually gets the cheese.
Being successful is not all about winning and being first at everything. Success may be born from patience as much as it is from tenacity. Even the bible tells us that there is a time to every purpose under the Heaven. (Having not studied the bible, and admittedly taken this line from the movie Footloose, it still holds as much meaning regardless of my source of third-party information. Don’t judge me!!) Success should come from just being in the race and not the place in which you cross the finish line.
Accomplishment comes to those who prepare well and put in the effort. But the benefit of that accomplishment is not defined by the place in which you finish. The fruition of your efforts should be marked by the honesty, integrity and perseverance you put forth while striving to procure that triumph. Seeing a goal through to the end should be the greatest achievement.
In some respects, coming in anything other than first may teach us a lot more about ourselves and how we are able to see the race through to its finish line, regardless of what place we cross that line. We gain a great deal of insight into who we really are and how we handle the fact that we are just shy of first place. That second place finish, or any other place for that matter, may be just the accolade that we were seeking to make us realize our potential, and will only fuel our attempt to get closer to being that early bird next time.
If you come up short of your original goal and you miss the worm, look for the cheese. There is still greatness in every place that you finish, because the reward lies in finishing. If you get the worm, great, but if you fall short of savoring that burrowing invertebrate, relish in the delight of the cheese. The reward you get by being that second mouse may be much tastier than the being the early bird that has to choke down that pungent worm.