A member of Pure Health and I were talking the other day and afterward I asked her to write this up because it hit the nail on the head:
You hear it all the time, “the only person you should compete against is yourself,” and yet it’s still such a novel idea. In a world where our ability to “keep up with the Jones’” is as simple as maintaining and manicuring our social media profiles, the idea of tossing what everyone else thinks out the window seems a little daunting. Equally intimidating is removing yourself from competition with your peers. Sure, you can let a slightly bigger fish in your pond challenge you, but ultimately it’s your personal journey to improvement. No one can give it to you, but no one can take it away, either. But people will try. People will offer you backhanded compliments, say things like “Oh, well you’re always too busy doing [insert lifting, hiking, painting, playing, reading, studying–whatever your passion].” And the truth is, yes, you are too busy. You choose want you want out of this life, and respecting each other’s choices is the best gift we can offer one another.
Our lives are only our own and you have to remember who you’re doing this for. Do you want to be the same person you are now in 10 years? This life can be a hamster wheel, continuously the same, day in and day out. Or it can be an adventure. You can try something new. You can master something exciting. You can be better than you are now.
But being better can be hard, maybe even alienating, and it’s very easy to just be and to stop improving yourself. You can choose to go to work every day, come home, eat, sleep, and repeat. This is the beauty of personal choice! But there is a sense of reward when you decide to compete against yourself that is unmatched. Say you ran a race and came in first, but had a terrible run and actually finished 15 minutes slower than your previous time. Is it enough that you still won? If you value the opinions of others more than your opinion of yourself, then yes. But at the end of the day, you are ultimately the only one that matters. You’re the one you spend the entirety of your life with. You’re the one who gets to see what you can become—who you can be.
We are the only standard against which we must hold ourselves. Have you ever seen or met someone that you thought was bold, courageous, or interesting? My question is: why can’t that be you? We are each vast and interesting in our own right, a combination of our experiences and the experiences of those with whom we come in contact. Don’t you want more experiences? Don’t you want to be someone who enriches other’s lives by being in their circle and challenging them to be better?
I stumbled across this quote once and it really resonated with me. It said,
“Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”
My intention is to always keep growing. If, at the end of my life, I were to meet the best version of myself, I’d want to say, “Oh, hello again,” and not “Look who I could have been.”