Never the lead dog
At the suggestion of my sister susandennis I started putting together the elements of an autobiography a couple of years ago. So many problems with writing it, not that I can't remember but that putting some things in writing is a bit of a problem that effects a lot of people. So it is going slowly.
But the tentative title is the subject line above and references my father who gave me a paper weight that said:
If you're not the lead dog, the view never changes.
I detested the sentiment immediately. My father meant it in the best sense, a gentle motivation to keep moving forward.
The problem is that one is so seldom the lead dog and so every time another dog is ahead and the view becomes static it is a failure or at least a lack of success.
To me it became the very embodiment of Buddhism's Hungry Ghost, beings driven by 'intense emotional needs in an animalistic way'. The very dog whose view never changes.
My father would be dismissive of such a dramatic interpretation but I've run across enough articles and psychologists who focus on recovery from excessive striving that I don't feel bad about over analyzing the ideal.
I mostly got out of the race long ago. It is so hard on my ego to not compete. Competition was so deeply ingrained in me as a male of the species that I have to keep a hand on my ego all the time so I can smooth the twitches every time it wants to strive too much, be better than, desire more, be perfect. I tell it to get the hell over itself and just enjoy the walk.
Let the runners, including the lead dog, just go on by.