What are we chasing all the time? Fame, money, titles, status, bigger things, bigger egos, lists? What does the chase give us? What does it do for us other than a bloated ego, perhaps? Or a feeling of having won some competitive race in our own head?
At the risk of sounding preachy or patronising or both, I am going to spend the space I have here today, to explore some value systems and philosophies of life that I hold close and something that has nothing to do with these chases.
Let’s try this exercise – close your eyes and for a moment think of everything that has given you joy and has given you a feeling of peace and satisfaction. Did what you think of come from a space of fulfilment or desire?
In this life that we live out, what matters truly are the pieces of goodwill we create and the genuine connections that we build with people and the social impact we can trigger or change for the positive that we can bring.
Being ambitious isn’t a fault nor is the need to excel in whatever you do, be it the job or the enterprise, or the entrepreneurial journey. What truly matters is the genuine love and passion that is invested in it, not the exact outcomes. Like it’s said, the effort is in our hands, the outcomes are not…
All our lives we have been built to compete, to get better marks, to win the races, to beat everyone else and stand first in everything. No one tells you that in a class of 45 people only one person usually stands first and the others fall into places in the rungs. Does that make anyone the lessor or more? Does a rank holder outrank others for life? Do marks matter? Does what you score determine who you are?
I have always found this competitive atmosphere claustrophobic and I steer clear from competing with anyone else but myself. Competition with yourself is sustainable. When you are up against your last best, you know the parameters and the variables are aligned to you and your output and your holistic being. This makes it fair play. It gives you a fair, non-judgemental, non-comparative space of potential for excellence.
Having practiced this everywhere I have been both at work and outside, I can vouch for the benefits of doing great work and simply side stepping the competition and the politics around it.
Yes, competitive atmospheres tend to get political and human relationships get strained when it’s based on what I can get from you or whose back should I scratch, so mine will get scratched in return. What a futile exercise!
Instead, when you genuinely care for people, do great work and outdo your previous best every time, you get acknowledged for the efforts with rewards that are far greater than validation that is usually built on broken foundations of self-worth and self-esteem.
So, the next time you feel the need to viciously compete, do so with yourself and remember that everything that happens, is an opportunity to do something better and be a bigger and better human.
The trick is to not be lost in the race, but to be running with yourself, knowing what strengths you have and working on your weaknesses to build it up…