I am in the middle of watching a motivational video when the idea for this article comes up. Let me tell you a little story.
Back in high school, I was amongst the best students in my first year. I was the top girl in my class. I held it with pride and really deserved every bit of the praise I got. In the middle of my second year, this girl, let’s call her Mercy, came around. I topped the first test after she came around. She later passed me on that list of merit and retained the top position, beating all the males, achieving the highest academic success until the final exam. She scored a well-deserved A plain of 83 points. Throughout my second and third year, all I did was compete with Mercy, she did not know this but I did it in my head. My long-term goal was to beat her to it every single time and even though I was still somewhere amongst the top, I could not match her prowess, to be honest, I flopped a couple of times. Towards the end of the third year, I came across a one of her exercise books. It was written ‘Jishinde, Ushinde.”
At the beginning of my fourth year, I knew all I had to do. I made a list of all my weak subjects. I was a bright student but I had a C of 43 points in Mathematics at the end of my third year. It was my main concern since it was a key subject and I was not doing well. Allow me to brag that I was a Chemistry genius (this may only happen once) and by genius I mean I literally took an impromptu test at dawn and got a clean A. It was the school’s way of keeping us alert. I was always prepared when it came to Chemistry. Back to my story, I made a list of my score stand in various subjects and teamed up with some friends to form a study group.
In my fourth year, I had no time to see what Mercy was doing because my focus was on my work. I took numerous tests every day, consulted and learned the various topics individually from all textbooks I could find. I put in the work and watched my grades grow better. Needless to say, when the district examination results came during the third and final term, Mercy was first in the district. I was fourth in the district and the second girl of course. I got an A- of 79 points in my final exam with a straight A in Mathematics. This was the first lesson life taught me about competing with myself.
I have never looked back since then, even in life, now that school is nearly out of the picture. The energy it takes to look back and analyze what the other person is doing, be it in business, their way of life or achievements only takes away the energy you are supposed to use to work on yourself .That A in Mathematics would never have come had I kept my focus on competing with Mercy. She was busy competing with herself! It took me so long to digest this but it has stuck. Everybody is running a different race. We may compete with them but we do not know their story. Other people’s successes should motivate us to work on ourselves and not to outweigh ourselves trying to outdo them.
So try and make yourself better, you will win even without noticing.