“Don’t try to catch up to others because you want to have their success. Go after your own. Avoid the comparison trap and run your own race.”
A vivid example of “run your own race “was provided by the final race of men’s 200 meter butterfly final at 2016 Rio Olympics. Phelps, the greatest men’s swimmer was going to be tested for his effort to win gold because his chief rival, Chad Le Clos, the best butterfly swimmer, who had won gold at 2012 London Olympics defeating Phelps, was also participating.
Competition was on and both knew that they had to focus and concentrate on themselves only and no one else.
On the final lap, Phelps turned it on and passed Le Clos. A one milli second look that Le Clos gave to Phelps when he passed him did the whole thing. Le Clos was so focused and concerned about Phelps coming on him to take back his gold that he lost focus. He started worrying about his competitor. He didn’t make it to the medal stand. Phelps kept going and focusing on the end goal. He won another gold medal.
The event went down in the history with a clear message: “ RUN YOUR OWN RACE.“ Don’t worry about what others are doing – especially if you find it turning into envy or frustration. You are on your path for a reason. Know your purpose, clarify your goals and keep powering forward with confidence and conviction.
You don’t have to look over your shoulder at anyone to know whether you are moving in right direction or not. In any race whether it is a sporting event or your professional race, you need to focus on running your own race. You should focus on achieving your competitive greatness, that is, using your energy on bettering yourself and focusing on doing the absolute best you can for yourself. The moment you start looking over your shoulder what other people are doing, you lose focus. You lose time and finally lose the race.
The best efforts combined with your natural talents, skills, goals, purpose and mission are indestructible and all powerful. Set goals, set bar very high but don’t shift these things around for what you perceive others to be doing. This breeds envy and envy converts itself into frustration, anger, jealousy, hatred and even laziness. Envy seems like it’s a convertible energy good at first but it always ends up badly.
For instance suppose you are an IT professional who is making an App. Does it really matter to you whether someone else is also making similar App or not? I think answer would be a BIG NO. Timing may matter in some cases but ultimately it is the best product that always wins.
Similarly suppose you are aspiring to reach a coveted post of Head of Operations or CEO of your organization, then it’s really about you, not them. We waste time comparing ourselves to others When the only comparative analysis we need is to measure our progress against the absolute best version of ourselves.
Everyone wants to feel loved and important. Everyone wants to feel good about one’s life, one’s goals, one’s dreams and accomplishments until one comes across someone doing better than them. Ignoring people and focusing on one’s own path or one’s own race helps but it helps only sometimes, it’s hard to ignore everyone all the time.
What usually happens with most of us is that we get drifted from our path or our focus gets blurred and we start counting what we are not doing, what we haven’t achieved, what we have yet to do. We forget to cherish and celebrate our achievements and rather take them for granted and immerse ourselves into an ocean of others’ achievements which we haven’t done or simply we start comparing ourselves with others, whereas the fact is that everyone is playing a different game, everyone’s achievements are unique. There is no comparison but we tend to think and make ourselves believe that others are better than us and have achieved more than us and that we should be sad about it. We get upset about it. But we should be cautious and not allow ourselves to drown into an ocean of negativity.
“So run your own race, focus on your own path and don’t bother about others.”
To your Happiness