Everyone knows that guy, hell everyone was that guy at least once.
Let’s go back to a familiar scene when we were kids. Two boys are out in the grass during recess. The first boy says, “My dad is so strong, he can lift 200 pounds.” The second boy says, “Oh yeah? Well my dad was in the army and went to Vietnam.” The first boy says, “Oh yeah? My dad went to Vietnam too and he was the best shooter in his platoon.” The second boy says, “So! My dad was a sergeant in the army so he told other soldiers what to do!”
Undoubtedly, this conversation is going to end up at – My dad can kick your dad’s ass.
We’d like to think we’ve evolved and matured since our childhood, but have we really? This syndrome of one-uppery continues to plague many well into adulthood. We can be in the office and find ourselves in a verbal joust over who is busier than the other when we clearly know that no one is doing shit. We can be in the gym lifting ten more pounds than our workout partner even though our arms feel like they’re gonna fall off. We can also be in the bar, caught in a bragging competition over who has hooked up with hotter chicks (apparently, everyone bangs Gisele’s and Halle Berry’s). This instinct to mask insecurity through topping others must come to a stop. We’ve got to stop. I’ve got to stop.
As is the case for many of our personal shortcomings, self-awareness is the first step towards recovery. We must be honest about our one-upping tendencies, and it’s our duty to muster up the intestinal fortitude to fight the urge to top the person next to us.
I will leave you with a clip from Portlandia which sums up this message rather brilliantly.