Trying to be better than your rival may be holding you back.

By focusing on THEM, we remove our focus from what should be our focus – the PROCESS, and our own standard of excellence)

Our focus should be on our own growth and development in an effort to be the best version of ourselves, not on being better than someone else.

Let’s look at an example from sports:

Let’s say your rival is a mediocre team who beats you every year.

By mediocre, let’s call them a 6 or 7 out of 10.

If we focus on “just being better than them”, we may very well accomplish that goal.

The problem is, that only gets us to a 6.5 or 7.5. We’re good enough to beat that particular team (if we perform to our maximum capability), but we’re still only able to compete with teams/businesses/organizations in the 1-7 range.

We may beat our rival, but we still lose to the best. We still can’t compete with those at the top of our chosen pursuit.

On the other hand, if we ignore “them”, and turn our focus inward with the intention to continually improve ourselves, holding ourselves to the highest standard, we can approach life (or sport/business/etc) as an 8, 9, or 10 ourselves.

I’ve been fortunate to be exposed to this mindset in college at Clemson University, where Dabo Swinney brought the phrase “Best Is The Standard” that laid the foundation for a model of intrinsic evaluation. (In case you’re unaware, Clemson has won 2 National Titles in the last 3 years, so this focus seems to have some merit.)

If we strive for that standard and get there (or close to it), we outpace almost everyone – including our mediocre rivals – along the way.

This internal focus extends beyond who we compete with. It also holds true for who we may aspire to be – or be like.

Be careful who you emulate & model yourself after. Be careful who you compete with. Their ceiling will be our ceiling.

Don’t focus on your rivals. It’s not about being better than someone else.

It’s about developing the best version of you – not someone else.

Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.

I like to always bring it back to this question: “Is this the best you can do?”

At all times, you know the real answer to that question.

Let’s make a commitment to doing the best we can for our current level of development – and always seeking to elevate that level of development.

Best (you) is the standard. Accept nothing less.

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