Adjective, noun, and verb. Taken from Proto-Germanic “batizo”, closely related to “battle”. Improving on something through a struggle which results in growth, maturity, or improvement. Often requiring unforeseen cost of time, resources, and commitment. Grown from the intrinsic need to become “better” at something or than someone else.
When is “better” worth such a cost? Vilfredo welcomed us to consider 80% to be “better” than chasing after the minuscule gains of the 20%. Further pointing out that every time something becomes “better”, something or someone else becomes “worse”.
A qualitative measure of value often mistaken for improvement if not taken in the face of a total return on investment. My salary this year was “better” than last, all the while ignoring the extra nights and weekends required to make such claims. Often ignorant to the net-negative value it brings to its pursuers.
Taken as a term of endearment, “He/She is my better”; or a compliment to one who has done “better” than me. A self-imposed, moderately condescending label that denies the intrinsic value of equality and cooperation. A value judgement used to place one person, or person group, over another. A beautiful compliment to show our appreciation and respect.
“Obsessed” if we pay it too much attention. “Complacent” if we decide to fore go chasing it. It is a contradiction within itself, yet a part of our everyday pursuits. A driving force behind our intent, “I won’t make that mistake again, next time I’ll do better”. It motivates us to learn more, engage more, care more; to love more. Always a short step behind the arch enemy “best”, “better” will never take first place, but is always comforted at not being “worse”.
A paradox within itself, both a constant burden and future goal. What “better” are you chasing today?