Life’s a journey, relax and enjoy the journey. Wow, that sounds great, doesn’t it? “If only it was so easy”, I can hear you say. Well, it depends on what you are focused on. Are you focused on what other people think of you…..their opinions about you? Are you taking part in the “being competitive craze”, always being “on top of your game”, always striving to be the best in everything?
When you experience one set-back, do you think it’s the end of the world? When it seems like the new staff member is starting to get better results than you, do you feel threatened? It doesn’t need to be this way. Yes, the Bible also speaks of running the good race, but we should be competing with- and against ourselves, not against other people.
If you believe it’s a good thing to always be competitive and to be the best, put yourself in the shoes of someone else for a moment. Then you’ll realize that if that person is just as competitive as you are and cannot handle losing or don’t know how to handle any failure, the world is really going to become a very bad place for us all to live in.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t do your best. But you should be striving to be the best that you can be. You should be running your own race. Yes, always give your best. Strive for excellence. And when things don’t always go the way you want, don’t get all broken up about it. Analyze it, find out how or where you can improve.
If some one else achieved better results, instead of getting all worked up and working harder to stay at the top, congratulate him/her. Take a step back and study what he/she did and how he/she did it. But stay calm and relaxed, you can only learn from this experience and learning from it can give you the opportunity to improve your own results too. In this way, everybody wins.
I once heard the story of a very promising young athlete. He was competing in a track event to qualify to go through to the national championships. As they entered the final stretch towards the winning post, he was running shoulder-to-shoulder with two other athletes, competing to get to the winning line first. Finally he quickly looked – first to his left and then to his right – to determine exactly where the other two athletes were.
That was his biggest mistake; he lost time and came in third, not qualifying to go to the nationals. As he got to his coach, his coach told him what his biggest mistake was. Instead of remaining focused on the goal post – running his own race – he got distracted and shifted his focus to the other competitors….and he came third.
I am also not saying that you just shouldn’t be bothered by what anybody is thinking of you. We should be striving to not offend other people and to live in peace with everybody (Romans 12:16-18). But you shouldn’t base your self-worth, or build your identity based on the opinions of other people. By developing the courage to be yourself and to strive for excellence according to your own standards, you are more likely to gain the respect of other people.
Another major problem is the need for always being busy. What is one of the most common things we hear today – especially when greeting someone and asking how they are doing? “Wow, I’m so busy. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going”, or “there just aren’t enough hours in the day.” Does that sound familiar in some way. Maybe you even hear yourself in those words.
Yet, ‘busyness’ is one of the biggest enemies of productivity today. In a recent interview during the 2016 Writers Summit, hosted by Chandler Bolt, I heard Cal Newport saying the following. If someone tells him how busy they are, he would reply with “I’m really sorry to hear that. I do hope that you have some plan to solve the problem.”
According to Cal Newport, ‘busyness’ is similar to having the symptoms of flu. It is not being productive and you ought to be doing something about it. “Busyness brings no value to the market”, he says. Having fewer activities but doing more focused work is what brings value to the market. He says that being busy, like checking and responding to email, replying to Facebook updates, etc., has no value. Anybody can do that. What the market needs is what he calls ‘deep work’.
There is much truth in that statement. How many times do you come to the end of a day, you’re exhausted, yet you cannot show what you have accomplished?
Life’s A Journey, Relax and Enjoy The Journey.
As already mentioned, a very popular trend today is being ‘competitive’. It is almost as if people are competing with one another to be more competitive than the next person. How does the saying go? “Second place is not good enough; it is just being the first loser.”
As Seth Godin says in his post ‘It’s not a race‘; “A race is a competition, you are supposed to win. The idea is not to enjoy the ride, learn anything or make your community better.” You’re supposed to win and that’s all there is to it.
Wow, what must life be like if you follow that principle for living your life? The idea of “second place is just being the first loser”, will in fact always make a loser out of you, because somewhere in the world there will always be someone who can beat you at something. No matter what you do, somewhere there will be someone that can run faster than you. There will always be someone who makes more money than you or who can cook better than you. Well……so what? Who cares? That is exactly why each one of us has been uniquely placed on this earth. Because there is only one thing that nobody can do better than you. And that is to be uniquely you.
Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride. You have no control over external factors. You don’t even have control over the final destination. Many people are still trying to find their purpose. They are searching for their true identity. But society demands from us to be competitive. You must always be the best. The best at what?
Always having to be the best, irrespective of what it is you do, whether it is on completing projects at work, whether it is on the sports field, just for the sake of being the best, is a recipe for disaster. You might be heading for a life of frustration, depression, negative stress, burnout or even total destruction.
We need to shift the focus from external to internal. While we might not have control over what happens externally and over immediate circumstances around us, we do have control over how we respond internally to what happens to- and around us. The way you internally respond to what happens today will also have an influence on what happens around you externally tomorrow.
Life’s a journey; you might as well relax and enjoy the trip.
Everybody is Good At Something – Together We Form A ‘Mean Team’.
I am not saying that you should be irresponsible and not give your best at work or at whatever you do. You should give you best. You should give it your all. But don’t beat yourself up if someone else is better at certain tasks than what you are.
By being the best you that you can be, you will be giving your all, and your strong points will surface. But it shouldn’t be to prove a point or to win a competition against someone else. It’s not about being better than someone else, it’s about growing and becoming a better version of you.
If we can work as a team and every person who is involved in a project can be relied upon for his / her strong points, without competition within the same team, you will have a team to be reckoned with.
Think of it this way – Imagine being someone who is running a successful business; you always feel the need to be the best in everything you do and you always need to be on top of everything. Eventually you end up doing everything yourself.
You might be in for the following scenario:
- You will have to be a specialist in creating your products or delivering the service you provide.
- You will have to be the best there is when it comes to marketing.
- When it comes to office management, you must be the best.
- Administrative work…..hey, nobody can touch you.
- Real estate (you will have to buy property), nobody can teach you anything.
- Legal matters….wow….nobody’s going to be messing with you, you are the champion.
Do you get the picture? It sounds like Superman himself. But, most probably within your first year, you will either lose your business or you will be likely to have a nervous breakdown.
On the other hand, the most successful people in the world surround themselves with experts in various fields. They realize the truth that there is no need to always be the best in everything.
When it comes to the production of products or delivering a service, they have experts to take care of it. Legal matters, they have their appointed attorneys. Administration….they have their managers or even co-directors taking care of various departments or categories.
Surrounding yourself with other people who are good at what they do, will free you up to spend more time doing the ‘deep work’ – the work that you are good at. By being able to focus on what you are good at, will make it more enjoyable and you will become a more productive and happier person.
Be The Best You That You Can Be and Enjoy The Journey.
Stop. Take stock of yourself. Are you always competing with everybody else? Are you always rushing through your day? Or are you running your own race?
Stop feeling like a failure. Stop putting all that pressure on yourself. Just do the best you can with what you have. Soon you will start discovering your strong points. Then start focusing on that and become the best you that you can be.
Life’s a journey, relax and enjoy the journey.