As I worked abroad for a start-up rolling out a product, I came to see how the management thought their country was the best in every single field. We were trying to put our product in the hands of the biggest European companies in each sector and the founders of the start-up were sure that “there was no bigger company in Europe as the national company” regardless of the field. As shocking as this may sound, I went on to see that not only inside the start-up people thought like this, but also many other people of many other countries thought as well that their country was “the best”.
We tend to always think that our country is the best country in the world. Unfortunately your country IS NOT the best country in the world. Indeed, no country is the best country in the world.
First of all, “best” is something relative that depends on what we are judging. For example, someone could say that the hare is “better” than a turtle as long as we focus on the speed; but if we judge the strength of the skeleton or the longevity for sure the turtle outdoes the hare. The same happens with the countries… “Best” in relation to what? Economy performance? Unemployment rate? Happiness of the people? Or maybe “best” applies to other factors such as the ranking they held some of their companies with HQ in their countries. Whatever the factor is, it is clear that no country is the best country.
We may think that our country was the best country in the world at some point in history (once again, because of some random factors we apply to our valuation). This brings one even more interesting idea to the concept of being proud of our country: the people that brought our country to being “the best” didn't think so. Think about it… the people that make “our country the best country” did not think as you do.
When the founding fathers of the United States decided to break with Great Britain, it was because they thought Great Britain was not the best country in the world. They fight to create what many people say “the best country” because they have the vision of something that could be “better” than what they had, not because they thought they were the best.
As this, every country in the world, every major inventor, company and movement started because they didn't think they were the best, even more: they knew they were not the best and fought to be the best.
Can “our country” be the best? First, we should define what factor we want to have as key. Secondly, and most important, we would only make our country “the best” as long as we fight night and day to bring our country one step forward. As long as we are not afraid to see what doesnt work and want to make it work. Our country will be the best as long as we dont think our country is the best.
One of the best speeches made on a TV Show is for sure the beginning scene of The Newsroom. It is a clear example of why we should not believe that our country is the best. For sure there are plenty of reasons to be proud of our country or value figures of our past, but declaring being the “best” is something out of hand for anyone busy taking the country one step forward.
John D. Rockefeller said “He who works all day, has no time to make money.” and I would rephrase him with “He who fights all day to bring his country ahead, has no time to brag about his country”.