It’s something that I have to keep reminding myself.
But it’s hard. Hard when you see others conquering their lives, achieving what you and society defines as successful.
But it’s no surprise that me, and many others treat life like a competition. I was a busy child. Dancing, playing tennis, doing musical theatre – and all of these require a level of competition. It makes sense. All of you are after the same goal.
Whether to win that match or to get that lead role – we pit ourselves against our competitors.
And don’t get me wrong. Competition is healthy. It’s natural that we fight for what is scarce. A scholarship, a trophy – something that not everyone can have.
But life’s a bit different.
We each have infinite resources (if we choose to use them). We are each playing a different game of life, one that has different sets of rules and outcomes.
Why then are we so caught up with one-upping someone we know? Why are we so caught up competing when there’s nothing to compete with?
Well I know there’s satisfaction in knowing we’re doing better than others. That we’re ahead of the pack.
What is healthy competition?
What I heard from Cassey Ho (Blogilates) I believe, is this.
“Don’t compare yourself to other people, only compare yourself to YOURSELF.”
This has been an anchor in my life. When I get caught up about what others are achieving, I take a step back and think of this.
Because when we’re playing our own individual game of life, there is no other player to compete with. To one-up.
Well what can we do about this then...
#1: The first step is to understand you’re the only player in your race to the top.
I’ve found by focusing on what others are doing, I get distracted, a little sad and demotivated. That’s pretty unhelpful.
There’s no one to compete with, but yourself.
#2: Know that you probably don’t want what others have
Each of us have different priorities, definitions of success and what we value.
You might want the public recognition that successful business owner has, but you don’t want to spend days upon days analysing business models…or whatever they do.
Focus on yourself and compete with yourself to achieve constant improvement.
#3: Understand that people have got to where they are for a reason. If you really want what they have, then use your own methods to get there.
What helps me is to understand that there is unrecognised effort that has contributed to someone’s success. Like above, you don’t always see the stress and persistent dedication attached to success.
If you want it, you’ll need to be as dedicated.
OR, what if that person doesn’t work hard and had the success ‘handed’ to them?
…Well that sort of sucks.
But that’s not your life, it has nothing to do with you. Your situation is pretty different and you have your own resources and insight to get there.
#4: Treat life like collaboration, not competition.
It’s not that one gets to eat and the other doesn’t. We’re here to create meaningful work and help others, including your ‘competitors’.
When I start comparing myself to others, it helps to know that resources are endless. There is no scarcity even if we perceive it.
There are opportunities everywhere. Heck, we can even make opportunities if we want.
Onwards and Upwards
So go forth wellbeing-hungry bean.
Life has competition, but life is NOT competition.
Being able to practice healthy competition when it’s natural, or to see the bigger picture is essential to living life the way WE want to.
I’m interested to see what you think of this hot topic. Comment below if you want to discuss!