Growing w/ Grace

Everything in life shouldn’t be treated like a competition


College, money, the future, careers, scholarships, goals. These are words that I now avoid in most of my conversations because somehow these conversations inevitably turn into competition about who has the best future ahead of them, who’s going to the best college for the least amount or whose goals are the most ambitious. A not so obvious version of “Keeping Up with the Joneses” that we are all too familiar with.


I once wrote an editorial about competition ruining creativity, but realizing that it doesn’t stop there is when my perspective really began to change. Competition is an innate response in most of us, but competition is so damaging in all aspects. It causes burnout, ruins creativity, hurts relationships and can make someone lose sight of their self worth. Life shouldn’t be treated like a competition.


Time after time I have been at fault for this mindset having a hold of me, but because of this fact, I am also able to gain a deeper perspective. When you are the one trying to compete with peers, it will ultimately invalidate your accomplishments. We are basing the rubric of this competition on the version of success created by our society.


We are following after a society that values money and power at the expense of relationships and people. With the fact that we have all been raised in different ways, practice different beliefs and all have been given different circumstances, our versions of or perspectives about success are not meant to be the same. And yet, we treat life like everyone is after the same goals when that is not natural in any way.


So, trying to compete with people who have different criteria for success will not only become self-destructive, but it will also invalidate all accomplishments based on those goals that were not yours to begin with. With this heart or mindset, we aren’t doing anything for ourselves anymore.


Our accomplishments are no longer our own because the drive behind them isn’t passion, but merely envy and superiority. It’s almost like with this mindset we aren’t living for ourselves anymore, but just at the expense of others.


And I am not trying to validate a lazy mindset or say that working hard towards a goal is damaging, but it’s the intention behind those goals and work that we need to look at a little closer. Life isn’t always about winning, and like I mentioned in my last column, failure is so important.


Failing or not winning at all in these internal competitions with everyone is how you grow. Being able to accept and learn from those moments of failure without letting a superiority complex get in the way is how you learn from it, how you grow from it.


Although it does take an authentic attempt to value yourself above the thoughts and ambitions of others, it is the only solution to this problem, to truly understand that you are enough and gain a better understanding of your self importance.


We are addicted to competition and success that are based upon standards most of us might not even want in the first place. But, if we truly learn to love ourselves above the opinions and standards of others, we will realize we have nothing to prove. And maybe this is just a message I’m preaching in the mirror, but it’s an important one that has insurmountable value when it comes to growing.