Go first. Listening recently to the Tim Ferriss podcast (I don’t miss many of them) Gabby Reece, beach volleyball star, and wife to Laird Hamilton of big-wave surfing fame, stated to “Go first.”


This simple phrase stuck, and made me think…on several occasions.  So what does it mean?


If you happen to be a fan of the UFC and listen to some of the cornering instruction, “Be first!” is an often-yelled phrase.  When you were a kid, and perhaps even now among your peers, someone will inevitably speak first and utter the ironic instruction “You go first.”  Here I’m reminded of my second favorite film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (yes, I had a fedora).  Upon opening a secret chamber in which the Ark of the Covenant is discovered, there is revealed a moving floor of… snakes (Indy’s worst fear).  Indy’s companion utters the sentence, “Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.”


Ok, so is going first a good thing?  I think so.  

Can it be dangerous?  Yes.


What are the benefits or rewards?  Well, often what we seek when choosing to do things are opportunities.  Some opportunities just come to us.  But let’s look at it systematically.  Opportunities create the situations for rewards, and also the chance of failure.  So obviously increasing opportunities (and acting on them) create the most situations possible for both outcomes.  This is why very often it’s not possible to experience rewards or successes without also experiencing failures.  It’s just the way things are, one of those life rules.  By playing it safe and not creating opportunities you limit your risk, limiting your experience of failure and success.


So stop and think for a moment,

why would you not want to increase your opportunities?


Perhaps you are well on your way and satisfied with your current reward/success situation.  Cool, no problem, continue on.  But a lot of us, are not in that boat.  So then you think, gee what is stopping me, why wouldn’t I want to create more opportunities?  Fear comes to mind, what about those asps?  Ok, address that fear.  Of course going first opens us to danger, harm, failure, rejection, etc.  But these are all needed in order to grow and change. Remember, no one bats 1000 (I think this is a legit stat).


Often the ‘first one’ can experience the greatest success, both extrinsically and internally.  The ‘copies’ that come after that first one are just that – not as good – because they are not original.  In a sense, it is more authentic to go first and blaze the way, which will be yourway.  Cool, right?  Yes, 2.0 versions can be ‘better’ in some senses and situations and contexts matter.


So if we decide going first is something worthwhile, 

how do we implement action?


What’s an easy way to create opportunities?  Talk first, introduce first, smile first.  There is often very little to lose from going first in the social sense, provided your ego is in check.  It really is simple and filled with a potential upside.  You never do know who you will meet and what each of you may be able to offer/gain from the other.  Another upside, is increased confidence.  It’s so easy to get stuck in your own world.  Going first is a way to break out, even on a small scale.  By breaking out, you are expanding your world which will give you confidence.  Your mapped area will increase as you test it.  Also you will become more comfortable with going first, another confidence booster.  On top of that, you may just enhance your good-humanness.  Perhaps you’ll be seen as friendlier, nicer, positive, etc.  The downside being…?


Think about this: if you are offering help to someone else, as in teaching or mentoring for example (which is pretty much a good thing to do regularly), there can be a huge difference in going first.  If you allow the helpee to go first and they struggle or fail (at something which you can do) they may ascribe special powers to you and not focus on their own ability.  Whereas, if you go first and show them what is possible, then it creates something they know can be done, and can then be strived for.  Heck it may jab at their ego a bit resulting in their thinking that “of course I can do it, if he did it, this is easy.”


The easy part is having these “Go First” opportunities presented to us.


They offer themselves to us everyday.  Today, when you’re getting your morning or afternoon coffee, make eye contact with someone and say hello.  These simple social engagements are very low risk.  If you are in the group with those wanting more reward/success in life, then increase your opportunities.  Go First.