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The King of the Mountain



“Only mediocrity is safe. Therefore, be the best, and get prepared to be attacked.” ~Paulo Coelho

man at night with arms up fountian


Despair permeated his teenage body, and his spirit. I could feel and smell his dejection as we sat inches apart in the front seat of The Red Scorpion after driving home from his Scout meeting that night.

I partially understood the abyss he was teetering on, but I doubted the ability of any words of mine to relieve him. I just hoped that he would eventually understand the potential for maturity that was contained in his pain.

“When you are smart, and handsome, and talented in sports, as you are, Son, the ugly green-eyed monster of jealousy gets its grips on people around you. Even some people who you call your ‘friend’. They see you on the top of the mountain, and they think that if you are on the top of the mountain, one way to make themselves seem more important…would be to pull you down.

And they rationalize their feelings of jealousy with little comments to other friends.

You’ve heard them say, ‘Who does he think he is?’

‘Why can’t he be like us?’ they wonder out loud. And somehow thinking these thoughts justifies their pettiness.

So you become a target, simply because you are good.

Sometimes the green-eyed monster has such a grip on them that the ‘friend’ may make shaded comments right to your face, maybe with a touch of sarcasm.

‘I know you didn’t have trouble with that test.’


‘And of course you were the first one to get your foot on the ball.’

You feel rather than hear, that your excellence brings their disdain. This is so counter-intuitive to what you have always been taught: to do your best and push your limits.

And I’m sorry to say, my beloved Son, that this also happens in companies and neighborhoods between grown up people.

When this happens to you, you have two choices.”

And here I paused until his teary eyes looked up at me.

“You can either come down off the mountain and be a little less good in sports or school, just so you won’t attract the ugly green-eyed monster and so you can hold onto these ‘friends’.

Or you can keep doing your best and pushing your limits, and not have quite so many ‘friends’.

You will make that choice, consciously or unconsciously. It’s one of those life lessons.”

I do not know if I ever reached him.

But I did remember this advice fifteen years later when I was on my own mountaintop and my boss was the one gripped by the green-eyed monster.

From “The Dogs of Luck” by William Kenly



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Originally posted 2013-10-24 10:24:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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