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Ask any of my friends to describe me in a word, and I guarantee competitive will not be among them. Of all the personality quizzes I have taken over the years, it never shows up. It’s just not in my nature. Trust me, you do not want to pick me for your intramural sports team. Game night? Forget it. Pizza eating contest? Nope.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy these activities, because I do. It does not mean I will sit out or not give my best, because I will. I simply do not view winning as a desired outcome over losing. Some of my best memories have come from what I consider to be wins, but many of my best life lessons have come from my losses. I have come to appreciate the balance of each in my life. In moments of loss, I change my perspective to focus on the other person’s win. I compliment them. I celebrate them. I take myself out of the picture and allow the moment to remain joyful, knowing in time a winning moment will be reserved for me.
As I’ve gotten older, I have done my best to transfer this way of thinking to my beliefs regarding success. Trade sports with securing internships and careers, game night with loving spouses and children, and pizza for travel and experiences, and we’ve got a whole other story. A story I often struggle with.
It’s become very easy in our society over the last decade to keep up with those in your chosen community, city, and career field. Scrolling through my social media accounts on any given day will bring me news of friends securing new jobs, getting engaged, continuing their education, documenting their overseas travels, or hitting a new personal record at the gym. Beyond my inner circle, there are thousands of stories of those my age, or even younger, achieving incredible feats. Building businesses. Researching cures. Writing novels. Dropping #1 albums. Breaking Olympic records. The list seems endless.
When faced with the reality of what others are accomplishing, I am often gripped with a feeling of shame. Without meaning to, I equate their early success to my own. Some days it feels as if others are completing a marathon before I even lace up my running shoes. I find myself asking, “How did they do it?” or “Why did I not pursue that?” I begin to play the “What if I had done ____?” game. How would my life be different?
If any of the above statements resonate with you, I’d like for you to reconsider my words from the beginning of this post. When I find myself entrenched in these thoughts, I remember to take myself out of the picture. Just because someone else is experiencing a win, does not necessarily mean I’m experiencing a loss. Beyond this, I consider how lucky I am to be in such good company. Take a moment and imagine what a world full of leaders, dreamers, and high achievers would look like. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend my life surrounded by passionate and motivated individuals rather than feeling alone in my efforts. I am truly happy my friends are achieving their dreams, committing themselves to lifelong love, and using their talents to solve the problems that plague our world. Rather than viewing other high achievers as competition, I have come to realize we are all on the same side.
So, the next time you find yourself comparing your journey to others, realize you may be on different, not interrelated, paths. Realize how needed their talents are. Compliment them. Celebrate them. Be joyous with them. Wait, and know in time, a winning moment will be reserved for you too.