Finding my niche

Finding my place in this world is not just about competing with other people; it’s also an internal battle.

I admit it. I crave to be the best in something—anything. I have never explicitly expressed that sentiment, but I suspect that it shows through my actions and words.

Even in preschool and grade school, I strived to be at the top of my class. I always looked forward to recognition and graduation days with anticipation and anxiety, and was always on the edge of my seat when they announced the honor roll. This went on until high school. I only let up on my extreme anxiety over honor rolls during my college years. But even then I worked hard so that I could get the highest grade in the class.

I fancied being a pro in playing a musical instrument, so I tried learning to play piano, bass and acoustic guitars, even drums. I wanted to be good in a sport, which led me to try my hand at chess. But I never lasted in those endeavors.

It went as far as me becoming envious of other people’s successes. I also wanted to be known and admired by everyone. That was when I knew I was a goner.

My friends call me a “perfectionist.” I have recognized that a long time ago. I thought it was me simply desiring to pursue excellence in everything I do (nothing wrong there). But I have only just discovered how deeply my desires for perfection and becoming the best run. It has been consuming me—this seemingly insatiable desire to be indispensable.

Recognizing my wrong attitude made me pause and think. I have known all along that I am never going to be the best. There is always someone who is better at something. I am skilled in some areas but even so, I always knew that it’s not possible for me to be indispensable.

So why in the world am I still running after perfection? I know the answer now. It’s because I am still trying to find my niche in this big, crowded world.

I thought that being the best would fulfill me. How mistaken I was. I am now learning how to be comfortable in my own skin. I am in the process of shifting my perspective—from seeking to satisfy my ego to being content with what I have and what I can do.

Because trying to be so perfect was exhausting. I was always left in doubt, unsure if what I did was good enough. I deprived myself of inner peace. I was working hard to gain others’ recognition when what I should have been doing was appreciating myself.

So you see, in order to find my niche, I do not have to change the world. Rather, I have to change the way I look at myself and at the world. I do not need to compete with others for everyone’s admiration. I need to fight the negativity I bring upon myself.

Finding your own niche is about being comfortable with yourself, being content with what you have, and having the confidence to pursue what you want.

Hapy Benitez, 20, is a newbie in the corporate world.