I am a competitive person. I always like to be the best at everything. I like to win. However, there is one instance where I have learned/ am still learning not to be competitive. That instance is life in general.
I had a conversation the other day with probably one of my oldest friends. We don’t talk much anymore cause our lives went separate ways, and that’s evident by what we are both doing with our lives. But while I was talking to her, I realized that I wasn’t in competition with her. We are doing different things with our lives, and that’s totally great! I’m proud of what she’s doing, and I hope she’s proud of what I’m doing with my life.
This hasn’t been an easy realization for me. I’ve always wanted to please people, and as a result, I compare myself to everyone around me. However, lately I’m learning that the only person I need to compare myself to is the person I used to be. That’s really the only comparison that matters.
I want to be the best version of myself I can be, and maybe you feel that way too. But if you (or I) spend our entire lives trying to compete with others, the only thing any of us will ever be is disappointed. Having a successful life is not what you do compared to others, but what you do with the life you’ve been given. This is something I’ve definitely had to learn the hard way. I have different opportunities than other people do, so I need to do what’s best for me.
Everyone has this idea of perfection. But maybe instead of striving for something that’s unattainable, why not just go towards your own goals. I’ve mentioned multiple times that I have goals set for myself that I want to accomplish by the end of the summer. I’m on my way to achieving those goals. But the thing is, I didn’t make those goals impossible to get to because they aren’t “perfect” goals.
I know I’m guilty of wanting a quick fix to most solutions, but life doesn’t often work that way. Things take time, and I’m not a patient person. But to get to where I want to be, patient is something I have to learn to be. It’s easy for me to get discouraged because I’m not at the same stage of life as someone else. I have friends my age who are married and some even have multiple kids. I don’t have that. Instead, I’m 70 miles away for most of the year getting an education that leaves me exhausted. Do I want to have a husband and kids? Yes of course! But that’s not something I need right now. Right now, I need to focus on getting my degree to be able to have a career to provide for a family. So it’s easy for me to get lost in the idea of competition. But the truth is, the only competition is the one I make. My friends with husbands and kids aren’t doing any better than me cause I’m in college, and I’m not doing better than my friends who work full-time without going to school. Would I say those things are all equal? No probably not. But I’m more judging based on the fact of where people’s lives are based on what they want out of life. For people like me who may not be into their career yet, they may feel like they have more work to do. However, those of us in that position are unsatisfied because we’re not where we want to be in our own lives.
People don’t all live life at the same pace, and that’s okay. On some things, I definitely take longer than other people do, but on other things, maybe I’m the first of my age group to reach something. I’ve heard a lot of people say “life’s a marathon, not a sprint.” While that may in effect be true, I think life is more like a decathlon. There’s different things people hope to get to, and where one person may succeed immediately, someone else will take a longer time to get there.
When thinking through this blog post, I had a phrase come into my head that I had to write down because I wanted to share it with everyone. “Try to be the best you, not beat the best them.” Work on your own life, and measure your own success. Don’t try to compare to other people and what they’re doing. Who knows, they may be jealous of you. I mentioned earlier about talking to an old friend. I told her that I was in admiration of what she was doing with her life, and she told me that she was amazed I had started a blog. I’ve spent so much time comparing myself to what other people are doing that I’ve missed some opportunities for me. Honestly, I’m tired of living like that. So, if there’s something you’re wanting to do, be selfish! Take the opportunity and go for it. So what if you fail? You tried something new. I watched the Olympics in February and am currently watching the World Cup. And when people/teams lose, they understandably get upset. But the fact that they even made it there in the first place is incredible. So it is with you and me. We are each an Olympian. You made it this far. Yes, you might fail, but failure in reality is just finding things that don’t work. What works for someone else may not work for you. This reminds me of the movie about the Jamaican bobsled team, Cool Runnings. In one of their first Olympic races, the driver calls out the start the way the Swiss team does, and the rest of the team is kind of thrown off by it. Later on in the movie, they develop their own start style that is purely Jamaican. You are the Jamaican team. Calling out numbers the way the Swiss do isn’t going to make your bobsled run smoothly. The only thing that will is having something entirely Jamaican. Take your own opportunities, do things your own way, and compete only with who you used to be.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!