A little competition is healthy. It makes you work harder and stay focused. But sometimes competition goes from being a source of motivation to just being exhausting. Whether it’s with a co-worker, a sibling, or that girl in your yoga class who can somehow do any pose presented to her without a struggle, competition can pop up anywhere. While competition may make you feel as if you’re falling behind, this actually isn’t the case.
Let me take you back for a minute to the early ’90s. I was in second grade. Every day at recess, a group of boys would chase my friends and me around the playground. It started out as fun, but eventually we got exhausted. We wanted to go back to playing whatever game we were playing, but we felt like we couldn’t. We didn’t know what would happen if we did. Finally, we went to our second grade teacher about it. She offered us some simple advice, “Just stop running.” We figured out that when we stopped running, nothing bad actually happened. The chase just stopped and we were free to go about doing whatever we had been up to before.
While this incident may have happened many years ago, the lesson remains the same: it may feel like something horrible’s going to happen if you take yourself out of the competition. It won’t. It may feel like you have no other options other than to keep running and running, even if you don’t feel like it anymore. You have options. If you’re tired of feeling drained from competition and if you’re tired of worrying about “falling behind” (whatever that means) then just opt out. You don’t have to compete against anyone. It doesn’t matter if your co-worker receives praise from your boss or if your friend finds an amazing guy. That doesn’t put you further behind. You have no catching up to do. Once you pull yourself out of this competition, you can devote your full attention to the things that you WANT to do, and not what you feel like you HAVE to do.