I want to share a story from years ago. If you wonder why I even remember this story, it’s because I experience and see it nowadays. It’s a story about competing and comparing ourselves to other people.
You can listen to the story, or you can read the highlights right here.
I was 22 years old when I arrived in the United States. I was living here for about a year and a half when a very good high school girlfriend back then was getting married. let’s call her Diana.
The wedding was to take place in August and so I plan my trip to arrive in Israel just in time for her wedding. In preparation, I went to Nordstrom and bought an expensive and beautiful dress. I remember it vividly. A wrap-up dress half black and half white just above my knees. I felt pretty in that dress, and I thought to myself I’m going to a wedding in Israel, and I am bringing my dress from America!
I arrived in Israel and two days later I went to the wedding. I saw girlfriends from high school, and we all sat around one table.
But alas, someone else had the same black dress… no other than the bride’s mother! Can you believe my luck? I was an embarrassed 22-year-old.
What happened next?
You got to watch the video to get the full emotional impact but basically…the mother of the bride asked the photographer not to have me in any of the photos for the wedding… when they came to take a picture of the table which I was sitting, they asked me to leave…. I remember when they had an informal group picture, I was asked to take a picture rather than to be in the picture… and following the wedding, Diana never contacted me… until today…
And at that precise moment compare and compete were formed in my mind. And I have carried it with me all these years. What could I or the mother of the bride have done differently?
Why are we, humans, compare ourselves and compete with other people? I don’t find it only in social events. We compare ourselves in the workplace. We ask ourselves “What do I have, what does she have? Am I as successful as this person is? Why did they get the opportunity to ___ and not me?” Get the gist?
And here is what I have learned:
Competition can be a positive and energizing motivator if we compete with ourselves! I love Nelson Mandela’s quote “I do not lose, I either win or I learn.” Imagine our world if that would be the prevailing mindset.
Ask yourself “What will I attract more of if I continue to compare and compete myself to others? What other windows will open for me when I don’t compare myself to other people but rather try to be the best I can be?
In Positive Intelligence we have the universal saboteur, known as the judge. How we judge ourselves, how we judge other people when we allow competing and comparing to take front and center position in our brain!
We know that our mind naturally leans to the survival brain when we see somebody more successful than us, more beautiful than us, someone who makes more money than us.
But that is a fallacy. If we stop for just enough time to regain sage perspective we will realize that we don’t know what’s behind the curtain of those whom we think are so successful. We don’t know their life story. We don’t know what really keeps them up at night or not.
But what we do know is that the more we compete and compare, the more
pressure and stress we place on ourselves and the less aware we are of our own strengths. And you do have strength. You do have your special unique “superpower.”
Only you can bring that special contribution, that unique superpower to the world.
So what shall we do?
Perhaps instead of comparing, we should collaborate?! What a concept.
We should also ask ourselves- “What am I good at? What is my superpower?” Positive Intelligence business coach Bill Carmody shared a valuable insight. First Be. Then Do. And then Have (or get).
Who you truly are is the “be.” When you do not let your saboteurs run the ship (i.e you), your true sage comes forth. Once you understand be, act upon it. Do. When you do, your inner self shines outwardly, and you do not need to compete. You become obvious to the people and the world around you.
It is interesting that in English the word face comes from Latin which means a mask. In Hebrew, the word face means “inside.”
What is your “inside” that needs to shine brightly outwardly? Ask yourself “what is the awareness that I am discovering about myself?” Journal it. Watch and listen to how you do things. Observe the impact of your behavior on others. And finally, discern by asking others you trust and are honest and direct for feedback.
Ask them “what are my superpower?” And then listen.
All human beings have that special spark, that godly spark. Know what yours is and live it with conviction.
Have the world see your full light. While I know you have a light around you, I also know that sometimes your light is constrained by your saboteurs. Perhaps your hyper achiever, controller, stickler, or avoider?
I shared a story about a wedding and a size 2 dress to remind us that comparing and competing can be a curse, however competing with our own self to get us to a new place in life without the saboteurs but rather through sage, can bring much success.
When we do that, when we improve our life to a place of joy and insight, to a place of loving ourselves, and fostering a desire to make our lives better, then competing is indeed a blessing!