Just the other day, I finally asked myself, “why do I care if others understand what I’m doing?” When I choose to showcase certain things, I’m only SHARING my experiences with other people. I’m not looking for anyone’s approval or admiration. I’m not going to change anything about myself because others don’t understand, appreciate, or like what I do. I am not in competition with anyone besides myself. I can’t compete with anyone else because I don’t live the life they lived, they are living, or will live. I can explain this… Most commonly, competing is comparing and judging one’s attributes, capabilities, and dedication to another’s in order to gain esteem or a material reward. And it took me 20 years to realize how detrimental to my success competing with others is:

    Comparing and judging are done to select a superior amongst inferiors. The problem with allowing others to compare and judge you is that there will never be a single issue on which every person will agree on, so, in a competition, the majority of judges may deem you superior, but there will always be at least one who feels otherwise. Everyone has different opinions and preferences, so if you let someone else’s opinions and preferences measure your value, you will often go through periods of feeling low-valued or even valueless, feelings that can deplete your standards and self-esteem.

    Your attributes simply have nothing to do with anyone else. Your physical features and character can not be changed by anyone, unless you allow them to. When you give them control over what makes you YOU, you’re their puppet and test dummy. What I’ve noticed is that most of the attributes people admire and want to enhance on others are things they wish they did but are too afraid to, so they get others to try these changes first (why else are there so many people taking pictures with expensive bags of tea that actually don’t give you a flat tummy). And, more often than not, when someone points out and shames you for either a physical characteristic or a personal tendency, it’s because they focus on and shame themselves for that same physical characteristic or personal tendency; they just don’t want it to be noticed by everyone else, so they make sure everyone else notices it on you.

    When it comes to your capabilities and dedication, other people are really irrelevant. In essence, only you can measure your capabilities because only you can regulate and direct your dedication. No one else can tell you how much effort you put into something. No one else is constantly keeping track of your reps in the gym. No one else is paying your bills. No one else is studying every night for you. Support and opposition can be factors, but at the end of the day, you are the only person capable of being you. You could have a stadium full of fans screaming your name, but if you decided to only practice long jump, you won’t beat your personal best in hurdles. And you could have all of media saying you won’t graduate college because of your demographics, but if you do what you need to do, you will graduate and impact some lives along the way.

As for gaining esteem and material rewards… On the surface, fortune and fame may feel fulfilling and rewarding, but we are three dimensional beings for a reason. The feelings and functions that affect us the most are not on the surface, they are internal. So what happens when you strip away all of the surface rewards? You’re left with yourself, I’d even argue that you only TRULY had yourself to depend on all along, but that’s something else. So all of your cars, clothes, and phones don’t mean a thing if you are not well and improving mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I am the only person who controls my future. Sure, situations out of my control can influence my next move, but those situations will not change my goals, and I still gotta get it! The only way I can get it is if I am the best person I can be, and competing against others won’t make me better in anyway. Let’s say I am marathon runner, and I placed fourth in my last race, while Lewis placed first. Saying “I’m going to beat Lewis next time” won’t help become a better athlete. What if Lewis places fifth next time? What if Lewis doesn’t even compete in the next race? I just wasted a whole lot of time worrying about how Lewis was performing, but how much time did I spend making sure I was progressing? That’s how I had to start looking at it; if I have the time to compete with others, I’m not spending enough time working on myself. And since there’s always something I can improve upon, I should never have the time to compete with others. People and trends change, for society is an ever-evolving system, so I can not allow others’ opinions and actions today (or anyday) distract me from my personal growth. By continuing to be better than the day before, working harder than the day before, learning more than the day before, and doing better than the day before, I win the competition each time I lay my head to go to sleep. I wake up refreshed and ready for the day because I know that I have been preparing myself for whatever may come my way. I am my only competition.

 

Let’s Get It,

Nessa Storm