I think it’s best if I start by stating “success is relative”. Whatever you attain to in your life will be what you make it. Your goals are not mine, and mine are not yours. So how then, will we compete? Competition has replaced so much of what should be individual success and ambition.
Through the overwhelming amounts of media that we are being subjected to on a daily basis, it is becoming harder and harder to differentiate between what we really want in life, as opposed to what has been shown to us and set as a standard of success. Whatever it is that you do, or whatever your profession is, you should aim to achieve the highest honor or award in that area. In doing so, it will be harder for any of us to become distracted by what we see others with or what their goals reward them with. When success has been materialized as much as it has been, you can be easily dissuaded from your course to prove you can “win”. If I’m not working towards a million dollar deal, I lack ambition; and until I’ve reached a million dollars, I’m not successful. I’m sorry, but I have to refused those standards.
“Reggie, that’s loser talk.”
Well tell that to an Olympian. They train four long hard years straight, to win a gold medal that is not even worth a thousand dollars. I know what my goal in my field is and every time I find myself in a battle over word choice, I let that goal be the deciding factor. Now I will gladly accept whatever “things” or opportunities that present themselves on course to my goal. And every single day I wake up and take another step towards that goal, I’m a success. Forget what you heard! I trip out when I think about the audacity of people who try to measure other people’s success by their standards. I especially get upset when it causes people to deter from their purpose. If you are a comparer that way, or become entangled in someone else’s comparison, you will never be happy or win at life. I don’t care what you get to show for it, I feel as though you lost, because you don’t even know why you have whatever it is that you’ve attained. You won’t appreciate it the same because you let someone else dictate what you want.
Winning has become such a reward that people will discredit their own time, practice and efforts if they do not come in first place. If you’ve seen the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, you may remember one of the tagline, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” The quote itself is hilarious, but I think more people think that way than we realize. Will you tell your child that though? No! If you see your child put in a little sweat and effort, you will be just as proud of him as you would be if he had won first place… and if you wouldn’t be, you should probably do some self-evaluations. Everyone wants to win and succeed. I’m sure all parents want their children to win and succeed. Therefore, it’s best that you know what you should be doing and why you are doing it. If you know what and why you’re doing something and where you are headed, you will win.
What really cracks me up though about this whole winning thing, is when I hear people say, “I hate losing”. Most of the time you hear that phrase, you’re probably participating in something that does not even financially benefit you or something that does not even contribute to what you do as a professional. For example, the last few times I’ve heard it, I was playing basketball, cards or video games. Like really? Do you hate losing at your job? Do you hate losing money unnecessarily? Do you hate losing productive time? Well you hate losing the wrong things. Hate losing what counts. It seems that in those instances, people hate losing because their are bragging rights involved. Some type of irrelevant pride. If you beat me in a game of basketball… so what? I’m not in the NBA. If lives or money isn’t involved, I can shake your hand with a “Good game” and go home just as happy as I came. I understand that some people just have a “competitive spirit”, but I need to see at least in one area where that competitive spirit has paid off for you.
In 2012 I submitted a piece to into a poetry contest of 5,000 applicants. I made it into the last 500 contestants before being counted out. I was upset, that I didn’t win of course. I counted the fact that I was in the top ten percent of contestants as a good place. Then I waited for the winner to be announced and compared my work to hers… New goal. That’s because it’s in my field. Im not upset at the person who is better, but I will be upset with myself, if I don’t put in the necessary work to be closer at winning the next time.
Don’t want to win in something that has nothing to do with you. Don’t want to be the best at something without putting in the work required. Go back to those childhood lessons like, “winning isn’t everything” but “Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability”. Have fun learning and progressing towards being the best without competing out of negativity and simply wanting to be better than an individual. You want to be the best, not better than someone. Being the best will automatically make you better than the competition and will ensure not having a ill-feelings toward anyone.
That’s just me though. You can call me uncompetitive, weak, passive or whatever else you can think of to call it. I guarantee though, that I win at whatever it is relevant that I’m doing. I’ll get what I want; and whatever goal I set, I’ll attain.
That’s confidence talking, not arrogance or ego… We will discuss that next.