Saturday, August 29, 2009

Compete with yourself


A few months ago, a colleague came to me for some advise. He stated that he was very unhappy and wanted my help. I found out he was unhappy because his performance bonus & increment was lower than some of his peers and he had been rated poorly in comparison to his peers.

My advice to him and to all those who suffer on account of such comparisons is that it is incorrect to compare our condition with others. If at all, we should compare our respective achievements and knowledge levels. This kind of comparison will spur us to greater heights. In my view, comparing with anything else is not worth it.

When we compare ourselves with others, it is natural to find that there are some who are better off than us and some who are worse off. It is silly that we get our happiness or sorrow based on the condition of someone else. It is almost impossible for us to be on the top of the heap forever. There will be conditions which come by which someone may be left behind by us and someone may leave us behind.

It is best that we compare our state with our own state in the past. If we have been making progress as per our plan or have been able to maintain our position, we should be satisfied. Each person is running a different kind of race. While someone is making a 100 meter dash, someone else is running a marathon. How then can we compare the postitions of each?

Make yourself happy. Stop comparing with others :))

"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself." - William Faulkner

"The principle is competing against yourself. It's about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before." - Steve Young

6 comments:

lakshmi said...

Very thought provoking Vish

This is exactly the advice that is given to my kids........never compare self with others.
Remember to compete in the race only with self. How good are you now....how best you can improve yourself.......

nice post

KParthasarathi said...

Competing with oneself and bettering the performance is in order up to a point.But one must benchmark himself against the best in the category.A boy or a girl in a class should aim to better the record of the topper.He or she may win or lose in the race but the focus and effort should be fixed on the highest point.Aim for the sky and you may reach the roof top.Breaking records in all forms of sports and human achievements have been the strongest motivator for outstanding achievements.

manivannan said...

A commendable post Vish! We should never compare ourselves with others....we'd always be aware of this Truth. Most problem in life arises because of comparison. Also, I don't like the idea of competing with others....those are very foolish things which consciously or subconsciously we have forced ourselves into....

We should remember that we all are Unique, Different and Talented in our own ways! And always try to give ours best, which, I think, is more than enough :-)

Vishwanath Seshadri said...

Thanks for your comments Lakshmi and Mani.

Dear KP Sir,

I am delighted that you chose to make a comment which presents a different perspective.

I agree with your views that one has to be competitive and aim for the stars...

However, I have a thought for consideration. If we try to compete with a person rather than a target, we may end up being disappointed because the other person may also do better.. Is it not better to have a fixed target rather than a moving target ?

Also, ambition is good and useful.. The same ambition can become limiting if it is set against the limitations of another person.. Perhaps, that is why corporations these days do not talk about being "benchmarked against the best in the world" and rather talk about "setting new standards"

Rakesh Vanamali said...

I completely agree! The moment one compares oneself to another, there is pain and anxiety!

Anonymous said...

We all aspire to be better people.The problem comes when we play the comparison game.When we compare ourselves to others we may either become very proud or bitter for there will always be people who are better than us or worse than us.We must remember that everyone is unique and that we must set our own standards and believe in ourselves.

Tyaagi