Ask most ambitious young professional today what they desire most and the honest (unspoken) answer is inevitably "to be better than anyone else." This direct comparison to others that is instilled in us at a young age, this competition that has become capitalist life, is it helpful?
John D. Rockefeller once professed, "competition is a sin."
It is simple when you think about it. There is nothing to be gained from competition, everyone competing for the same (known) thing is the hardest way to achieve something new. Much like myself, Rockefeller didn't believe in competition, though unlike myself, Rockefeller was the first person to ever amass a billion dollars.
Evidently his outlook on success has significant validity to it and as we progress in the "less with more" economy of the 21st century, I wonder how perceptions of competition will continue to shift.
I personally have a firm belief that the only competition in life is in your own head. If you can master your own demons and believe unquestionably in your own conviction, this is where extraordinary results are born.
If you want something, known or unknown, you must do all that you can to achieve this outcome. Take the most brutally direct competition of all, the 100m final at the Olympics. Now, to win gold you just need to beat the other athletes, right? Wrong, to win the race you need to have trained aggressively for many years to run a race that aims to set the new world record time. A preparation that factors in a result that is anything less ambitious, is sure to result in failure. After all, we prepare for ultimate success, not avoiding failure. Our benchmark is the time and not the competition.
Likewise, if the pass mark for an exam is 75%, do you prepare your revision to scrape a 75% result? This leaves a 50/50 chance that you will in fact fail.
Thus it is clear, success lies not in a comparison to others or indeed to the rules but in achieving the very best result that YOU are capable of. Forgetting everyone and anything else.
Seeing life as a competition between individuals is what gets us trapped in the capitalist bubble of normality. When it comes to success, people and the world around you are merely the landscape within which success is achieved, they do not define your success, the success is whatever you decide to add to this landscape that exists, with or without you.
The only rival and competition you have, is in your own head. The day I stopped comparing myself to others was the day I started to realise my true potential.
After all, how can you ever explore what extraordinary potential you are capable of if you limit yourself to the direct comparison with the normality of others. If you want to achieve normality then follow normal behaviours but if you want to achieve something exceptional you must stop outside the box and make your own agenda. By making direct comparisons to others you will only realise the parts of you that you see in others and not what makes you unique and the unique talents you possess.
Discovering your own uniqueness is where extraordinary potential can be found and what will make you a true success.