My favourite part about watching my son run around the track at his athletics club is that it’s not important who crosses the finish line first. The focus is on getting the best out of yourself and going for a Personal Best (PB) time. I love seeing him run faster, throw, and jump further than he has ever run before. He is excited by that as well as he discovers that he is capable of so much more than he thought possible.
Sometimes he wins, sometimes he doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter, he is only competing against himself. The strength of that attitude is that it leaves space for more than one person to win in any race. It is not a zero-sum game, but it’s a place of growth, a place of development, a place of abundance.
We might think that type of attitude has no place outside of kids’ athletics, but it is truly how we can live our whole lives.
In a world where we live with the philosophy of “survival of the fittest” (which is a sham by the way), we are taking the easy way out. It’s easy when all you have to do is try and just be a little bit better than the other team, the other person, the other organisation, we do improve but only incrementally.
If we shifted our focus from trying to be a little bit better than someone else, and begin to imagine what we are capable of, then we realise that we can always get better compared to what we have done before and we are capable of so much more than we think is possible.
Mostly, just because someone else is doing well, it doesn’t mean that we lose out. There isn’t a limited amount of success in the world, there is an abundance meaning we can celebrate when other people are doing well and strive to get our own PB.
As Reese Witherspoon said, “Someone else’s success isn’t impeding mine”.
Don’t compare yourself to other people. You never know who is taking steroids. You never know who is drowning in debt. You never know who is a liar. – Ryan Holiday
Who are you in competition with? Why? Do they even know?
For me is it other fundraisers, other staff, other parents from my kids’ school, other people on the internet?
I wonder if they walk around thinking, “I am winning!” or are they so focussed on doing the best they can that they don’t even notice or care about me.
In a zero-sum game world, someone else winning would mean that I am losing. But what if we are not in competition with everyone else? What if we are all on the same team and we are only in competition with who we used to be?
If comparison with other people is the thief of joy, then personal progress is the thief of comparison.
This is my journey. This is my race. Success is whatever I want it to be. Survival of the fittest is a sham. We don’t live in a zero-sum game world. When you grow and progress then so do I.
Why does it seem that those with money seem to attract more money? Is it something supernatural, are they using “the Secret” or are they just very smart with handling their money already, so that when they get more it adds to what they already have?
There is a long list of people who have won the lottery and changed their financial lives dramatically, only to spend it all and end up back where they started from a few years later.
It makes sense when you think about it, because money doesn’t change you, it just makes you more of who you already are. How you are today will be how you are tomorrow regardless of what material changes happen for you.
If you are greedy already, if you are stingy already, if you are generous already, then getting a lump sum of money will only make you more of that thing. Once you get a lump sum of money it is too late to become something else. You may be able to fool yourself and others for a bit, and act generously temporarily but that will fade and your true nature will come out. The work needs to happen before you get it.
So, if you are waiting until you win the lottery to learn how to be generous you are fooling yourself and setting yourself up for a long and lonely life of being stingy.
Don’t wait. Do the work now and start your journey of generosity.