Being first is no guarantee of success.
This morning a client mentioned an idea he wanted to execute, but he was hesitant to do it because someone else had already done it. My client expressed the belief that even though the other person had beat him to the punch, he could do it better. I asked him why he was stopping himself, and he replied that he wanted the credit for being first and didn’t want to come off as a copycat.
“What’s more important?”, I asked him. “To execute better than someone else? Or to be first?” Naturally his reply was, “To execute better.”
Being first does matter in some situations. But not in most. Especially not when it comes to creating your dream or reaching your goal. If you’re dream is to own a mexican restaurant, you know that you’re not gonna be the first mexican restaurant to open up. Unless you’re in an area that has zero mexican restaurants. Even then, you may be the first mexican restaurant, but you’re not the first restaurant.
In boxing, you may land the first punch, but the last person standing is the one who wins. Being first is no guarantee of success. It may give you a slight edge at the beginning, but in the long run, what matters is whether or not you execute better.
Take Google for example. Before Google came along, there was Yahoo, Webcrawler, and Lycos. Yahoo was the first modern search engine that gained wide acceptance and use. That little fact didn’t matter to the founders of Google. They saw that they could execute better. And they did. Their execution was so much better, their brand name became synonymous with searching the internet. Instead of saying “yahoo it”, people say “google it.”
So you see, being first doesn’t guarantee success. It just means you started earlier. Being better leads to success. Especially if you continue to improve over time and outperform yourself and others. Being better may not put you ahead of the curve initially, but it will keep you in the race longer.