Opinion: Competing With One's Self

A while back I read on HONY, a man's statement that the best way to be happy is to not be competitive because it meant that there is only one road to success and it can belong to a few. Those are not his words exactly but a paraphrase and my understanding of what he said. I agreed immediately because this is how I see competition with others, too. To compete with others often seems to suggest the need to out do others, as if to say that one is better than another and thus to prove one's superiority. The thing is, I don't believe I am better than anyone, nor do I believe anyone is better than me. I believe we are equal in our diverseness.

This is why it seems to me that it is more beneficial to compete with one's self than with others. To compete with oneself is to challenge the self; to improve it by fighting one's weaknesses and improve one's strengths. It means to get to know one's self, to understand what make us happy and know how to go after that happiness in our own ways, and in our own time. It has nothing to do with where our peers of similar age, or graduation year are at in Society's Success Club. It is all about you leading your life the best way for you. It has nothing to do with, 'but so-and-so just bought a house and I don't even have a bicycle.' Being in competition with yourself makes you appreciate others successes and be inspired by them, because you know where you are coming from and you have an idea of where you are going: you are working on getting to where you wish to be, in the best way you can. Hence you find yourself thinking, 'if so-and-so bought a house, it is possible that I too can own a bicycle.'  Because you know it is really a bicycle you need at the stage in your life, not a house. You are not threatened or unraveled by others happiness, you celebrate with them and you let it inspire and motivate you.

We are different people and our path to success is diverse. Even our successes are not the same. What makes another happy might make me extremely unhappy and vice-versa, so why chase the same things and why go about things as if life is some sort of race? Competing with yourself is learning to master yourself. To gain confidence in who you are and what you are about. You can be genuinely happy for others, because your friends successes are yours too. You don't crave what they have because you know what you have and you appreciate what you have, and you know you're using your abilities to the best of your capability.
-
Jane

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