As people, we place so much emphasis on competition with others that we set ourselves up for failure in our lives. The reason is simple; it is extremely difficult to be the best at anything with so many other people to compete against. I think the secret is to focus on competing instead with yourself. Work on making small daily improvements to yourself and consider yourself successful when you are better today than you were yesterday. On any given day you will always be presenting your very best self to the world and making the greatest impact you can on others.
A quote from Neil Pasricha’s excellent book, “The Happiness Equation” says, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same…”. The quote is taken from the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling. Do your best not to take winning or losing too personally. If you make your best effort and still lose, you have really lost nothing!
Today I was watching sports highlights of the Little League World Series, and the Team Canada pitcher gave up a home-run to a batter from Spain that tied the game. The twelve-year-old pitcher, Zaeden Pleasants, was able to take his hat off in a show of respect to the hitter. This struck me as amazing sportsmanship and control of emotions, especially for someone so young. Later, Team Canada was able to rally to win the game 2-1, maybe because they didn’t lose their focus. Perhaps they didn’t view the home-run as a disaster at all, but instead as merely a temporary setback.
In the classroom, perhaps because teachers are constantly marking your work, it is easy to get caught up in results and how you compare to your peers. It is easy to label yourself as being at a certain level so that you convince yourself you will never improve. Take it one day at a time, always searching for ideas on how to improve yourself and acting on them. Remember that action is of huge importance, and it will lead you to improve your belief and desire as you see that you can do more. Never let your results define who you are or place boundaries on your potential.
Always demand more effort from yourself regardless of whether you are struggling or succeeding. One of Robin Sharma’s quotes is, “Nothing fails like success”. I love this quote, because it reminds you to keep pushing, especially when things are going well. It is so easy to take your foot off the gas when you are succeeding, so that you let things slide. Challenge yourself to push harder in those moments so that you work toward your true potential. Ask yourself each day a simple question, “What can I do today, to be a little better than I was yesterday?” This will get you pointed toward the truly amazing person you were made to be!