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“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” – Marquis de Condorcet

If you constantly look at the strengths of others and compare them to your weaknesses, how do you think you’d size up? And do you think this would make you feel good? The funny thing is, this is what most of us do at one time or another — and some of us do it pretty often.

It’s a sure-fire recipe for a drop in self-confidence and for unhappiness. It’s also not that useful.

Let’s say I take a look at someone who’s always the topper of the class and well-prepared for all tests… and then I look at my skills and preparation status and realize that I don’t come close to measuring up. In fact, I look pretty pitiful (My little secret: I’m a lousy learner and don’t know anything about maths).

But wait a minute: it’s not a fair comparison. Just because I don’t measure up doesn’t mean I should give up, or that I should get depressed, jealous or resentful. Instead, if I looked at my strengths —I love Chemistry— I can see that I have a lot to offer, a lot to be happy about.

And that’s so important — being able to look at your own strengths, and see your true value. It’s actually one of the keys to success because, without this ability, you will be unmotivated, and won’t believe in yourself.

The Competition Conundrum

Don’t panic! I am not advising that you completely ignore the competition, especially not your classmates. There are only so many hours in the day, and you simply cannot have enough headspace to spend that limited time worrying about what somebody else is up to and how you can beat them. Every student who aims to become a high-achiever will experience exam stress and lose focus sometimes in the bargain. It’s an unavoidable part of student life that can be a tough nut to crack.

Remember that even if you do well in comparison with others, you may be artificially inflated from this comparison. It’s a short-lived boost of ego if you win the comparison — otherwise, you’ll easily get knocked down.

Be OK with Imperfection.

No one is perfect — intellectually, we all know that, but emotionally we seem to feel bad when we don’t reach perfection. You aren’t perfect and you never will be. I certainly am not, and I’ve learned to be OK with that. Sure, keep trying to improve, but don’t think you’ll ever be the “perfect person” or the “university topper.” If you look at it in a different way, that imperfection is what makes you who you are, you already are perfect.

Why ‘Focus’ is the Only Solution

Concentration and hard work are the keys to success. You will never achieve your dreams if you are only worried about how to beat your friend or colleague’s scores. It’s crucial to define what you want and look nowhere else. Triumph is not about being better than someone; it’s about fulfilling your aspirations. Whether you embrace the competition or not, it will always exist. Enjoy the journey and not constantly keep thinking about the destination.

The society puts a lot of emphasis on competing with others rather than competing with yourself. Students are compelled to score better than others rather than finding inspiration within. That’s probably the reason why they land up feeling tensed and are not able to give their 100% for the task at hand.

Scoring more marks than a particular person or studying more than someone will never make you happy. It makes no sense to compete with someone because you have no idea about the situation that particular person is in or what their journey is all about. Try to become a better person than you were yesterday; try learning something new from each day. Learn from your mistakes and resolve never to fall into that trap again.

You can reach your target when you become more realistic about your potential and limitations. Competition is immaterial if you are mature enough to think that the only one person that can influence your journey is you. Having said that, don’t lose sight of that meal box by looking the other direction while someone steals your lunch.

So yes — ignore your competition, focus on what you can control, and find your own path to success. But pop your head up once in a while to educate yourself about how your classmates are studying hard and trying to reach that mark of success. Find a healthy balance, and you’ll meet triumph on your journey.

Thanks for reading; I’m grateful for your time.

Got any more tips on how to deal with competition and focus on your goal? Share them in the comments section below.

You may also like:

How to Focus on the Task at Hand.

The Role of Music in Helping You Focus

13 Essential Life Skills I Wish Somebody Had Taught Me When I Was Younger.

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