Compete with Yourself

If there is ever one thing I am grateful for having internet for, it is that it has become a platform for amazing people to be heard, to rally supporters to their cause, and more importantly, for these selfless little people to come out of their invisibility to be recognized. They never asked to be thanked for the things that they do, so it is all the more wonderful that the internet allows us to do so.

At the same time, however, nothing has ever made me feel as insufficient as seeing a child prodigy speak 20 languages, young inventors create life-changing tools, a high school student make groundbreaking contributions to the field of medicine, and the same hundred other people that, just 20 seconds ago, I found amazing doing what they do best.

I look up to them, and I feel small.

But it’s ridiculous. So stop. Just stop comparing yourself with these people. They are inspiring and they don’t do the things they do to show you how amazing they are. If they could ever say anything to you, it is to believe in the talent and wonder that is in you too. They are normal people just like you. But if you keep on looking at these people, wondering why you don’t have their brain, their passion, or their heart, then you will never see all of the wonderful things in yourself. That, perhaps, is the biggest mistake you can ever make — that in your attempt to become like them, you fail because you never gave yourself the chance.

If you ever want to compare yourself against anyone, let it be yourself. Compete only against yourself. Every day, become better than you were yesterday. The only measure you should go against is your own. It doesn’t matter if you are leagues behind your peers. Trust in your own journey and your own time. Pretending that you are anywhere but where you actually stand will only sidetrack you. You will be fooling no one but yourself.

You may insist on competing against others. You may become so good that you actually get ahead. But you will only have beaten them to their dream, not yours. And they may be behind you, but they will still be closer to their success than you. Who’s the loser in that scenario?

So if you ever want to challenege anyone to anything, challenge yourself to make your dream your life. When you’ve become successful, weird as it may be, don’t let it matter that you are leagues ahead. Looking to your left and right would only make you want to settle, to fit in. Pursue your dreams ferociously. Don’t be afraid to be alone and stick out of the bunch. Surround yourself with people who do the same in their lives, who will understand the pressing and unrelenting need to make things happen. Challenge yourself continuously and do not be afraid to make leaps and bounds of progress. You only have one life so make it count. There is so much hurt in the world and the world will not stop needing you, not even if you’re at the top of your game. Then, you can only hope to inspire others, as the same hundred people that had inspired you.

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