In the last 100 years of human evolution, we have become the most competitive species on the planet. The last century has shown us that human beings are immensely competitive where we might have been competitive before. Yet who are we competing against? Our fellow man or is it only about You and Your Only Competition? Our competitiveness has brought about some of the most fantastic developments in sports, technology, food, and every other human endeavor imaginable.
However, the most overlooked aspect of this completive evolution is the real competition we face every day. Ourselves. We compete with ourselves every day, not the Joneses or the lady across the street or even the guy down the block. Just ourselves. Most amazingly, many of us don’t even know it; we often believe that we are competing with external forces.
Just think about your last achievement, regardless of how big or small it was, who was your competition? Probably it was something or someone other than yourself. Your completion in anything you attempt is not the person next to you but the person staring back at you in the mirror.
You and Your Only Competition – The Man in The Mirror
A famous song by Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop, explains what I mean. If you want to change your life, you need to start with the man in the mirror, or the woman or the person, whichever you prefer. This person in the mirror is also your best and worst competition in everything you do. But there is more to this premise than just a famous saying.
When we compete with others, we exhibit a specific type of psychology, and this is different from the psychology that we use when we compete against ourselves. The significant difference is how we compare ourselves to others. Competing with others predisposes us to compare ourselves to them. And this is where things often go wrong for us.
Think about it, you are your worst critic, and now you are comparing yourself to others. Very little chance of that going your way, isn’t it? This is because of the specific mindset that we take into that comparison. Being our own worst critic, you will naturally be more critical in your performance against your perceived competition. This does not often lead to empowering criticism.
However, when you compete against yourself, this picture changes significantly. You start positively critiquing your performance based on your past performance. This leads to better “Monday morning quarterbacking” and thus is better for you overall.
You and Your only Competition – Why Do We Compete with Others.
To understand this concept better, we must understand why we compete in the first place. It seems that competing does not always bring out the best in us. So why do we do it, and how do we change the behavior. We compete to become better. A better parent, better employee, better boss, basically a better YOU. If you are looking to be a better YOU, then why are you comparing yourself to others? Let’s be clear, competing and wanting to become something more is why humans have evolved and created everything that we have achieved in our history.
We compete with others to be our better selves, and although it sometimes works, it’s not the core driver behind our competitive spirit. One of the most enduring and enlightening human traits is our desire to be more from day today. But we also have a desire to be admired and to be adored. These two traits come into competition when we start comparing ourselves with others.
How do we stay true to our inner desire to grow and the drive to be admired? Especially without becoming egotistical and self-important. Well, we do this by competing against ourselves and not others. Our competitive nature is derived from our inner desire to become more of ourselves, not become more of someone else.
But in a world that has become more driven by others, we have lost our inner connection to our motivation. Our world is controlled by external factors like social media, news, and other external influences that firmly pits us against others. It doesn’t turn our reflection inward but points out the yardstick held by other people, companies, and places.
I read a quote the other day that puts the comparative competition in perspective: “Comparison is the thief of Joy” Franklin Roosevelt.
I believe that it puts it as plainly as possible. When you compare yourself with others, you rob yourself of the joy of real inner growth. That is not the reason why we compete. The actual competition is filled with joy, love, and compassion for yourself and others.
When your competition is between you and your only competition, you drive yourself to become better at YOU. That is the actual competition that we face every day: you and your only competition – Yourself.
You and Your Only Competition – The Real Benefits of Competing with Yourself
You and Your Only Competition. What do you get out of being competitive with yourself? Well, there is no doubt that you will be a better person every day if you compete with yourself. There are 3 main benefits of You being Your Only Competition.
- Others Don’t Matter Anymore – By not comparing yourself to others, they become less critical in your quest for being a better you. The race becomes all about you and your only competition, YOU. Regardless of what you are trying to achieve, by not comparing your performance to others, you are forcing your mindset to improve yourself at every turn. This makes you a better you. Do you think that the driving force behind Tesla thinks about its competitors every day? Of course not; they focus on being better at being them, being Tesla not being a better Competitor X.
- Staying Focused on Your Goals – If your goal is to be a long-distance runner, you need to follow the specific training program for your body and strengths. That is the only way that you are going to be the best runner that you can be. But now you start focusing on the other runners in the race, and you fail during the race. You start training according to their strengths and their abilities. And you start performing lower than expected, and your inner critic rips you apart for failing at your goals. But you were never focused on your goals; you were distracted by your external competition and their strengths and goals. When it’s just You and Your Only Competition, you stay focused on your goals, your strengths. Your goals are based on your abilities, not on the Joneses down the road.
- Focus Your Attention Where It Belongs, You – Where do you think your attention is when competing with other people or companies? Wherever it is, it’s not where it is supposed to be; that is on yourself or your company. Your attention must be on you and your only competition if you become a better you. Competing with others makes you focus on them and not you. This means that you will try to compete with a false competitor and not grow as a person. Keep your attention where it belongs – You and Your Only Competition.
These benefits might sound bigger in your head than real-world benefits. However, if you take the time to think about them, you will see that there is more to them than at first glance. If you are constantly focused on others, you forget what you are trying to achieve in the first place. Focusing on yourself and improving your performance will help you develop a laser focus on your goals. This laser focus will help you streamline your activities to achieve further goals, whether it is a better runner, a better space exploration company, or just making a better pasta.
These key aspects of you and your only competition will help you further explore your strengths and develop them faster and better than ever before. And remember, just like everything else, getting used to your only competition is you take a bit of time and practice. Don’t give up. Because if you do that, you will be giving up on yourself.
So how do you explore this seemingly untouchable subject of you and your only competition? There are a few ways you can do it, but one of the best ways is to surround yourself with people that will inspire you to be a better you. And not be another cookie cut out. And that is …
The Blacksheep Community is a collective of people that have realized that competing against others is just lowering your standards. If you want to grow as a person and maybe have found that those around you have become your yardstick, you want more. Then join the Blacksheep Community and realize that you have always been your best competition and that You and Your Only Competition have a place where you can grow and connect with like-minded people that will help you be the best you. Check out the latest offerings from The Blacksheep Community here.