You have to run your own race
I got an automated mail this morning from Robin Sharma, which talked about ‘the best advise (I) had ever got’. One of them was that you have to run your own race.
Due to cultural conditioning, we are hardwired to look outside for validation. Our definitions of success and failure are what society wants it to be. And it is pretty hard not to compare yourself with others. External comparison is convenient. It is easier to have benchmarks which are not within our control than those which may be within us. And reason for this is that introspection is tough. It is tough to take a call about what exactly is your personal definition of success; which race are you running; whom are you running against?
And worst part is that it is possible that you are good at something that society considers to be good. But it may not necessarily be good for you. It may not be in synch with your values, beliefs and general purpose of existence. What then happens is that you blindly follow this path of hollow success and end up realizing that though you did climb the ladder successfully, it was the wrong wall (!)
Another danger of social definition of success is that if you measure your success relative to how everyone else is doing you will probably end up far below your potential.
So you need to remember that…
Your life is your own. You have to choose your own race. You have to choose your opponents. Even if it means that you are your only opponent. Atleast you would be running the race on your own terms. It is better to fail at one’s own race than win at someone else’s.
Some questions to help you ponder over this thought –
- With whom are you competing against?
- Where has this race taken you?
- Are you happy with where you have reached?
- Was the answer to above question dependent on what others think of you?
- Are you running the best race for you?
- Or are you running someone else’s race better than they are?
And your life should not end with saying – I have finished first at their race.
It should rather end with – I have finished my race. (Position is redundant).