Number One

I once heard a story once about an extremely bright pre-med student at Stanford University in California. He fought, clawed and pushed himself to graduate number one in his class. That fall he planned on beginning medical school at a prestigious university. To reward him for having done so well in school, his parents gave him a summer trip to the Far East. While there he met a guru who said to him, “You are poisoning your life with your success orientation. Your intense competitiveness, trying to get ahead of everyone else, is killing your spirit. That’s not how people are supposed to live. Come join my commune and live in an atmosphere where there is no competition, where everyone shares and loves.” That sounded good to him, so he called his parents and told him that he was not returning for medical school. Instead, he was going to live in a commune. Six months later his parents received the following letter from him.

“Dear Mom and Dad, I know you were not happy with the decision I made last summer to quit school and live in a commune. But I want to tell you how happy it has made me. For the first time in my life, I am at peace. Here there is no competing, no hustling, and no trying to get ahead of anyone else. Here we are equal. We all share. There is absolutely no competition. This way of life is so much in harmony with the inner essence of my soul that in only six months I have become the number two disciple in the entire commune. And I think I can be number one by June.”