in life

There’s Always Someone Better Than You

I’m an active runner – and every Wednesday I head out for a weekly run with a local neighborhood group of about 200 other runners.

And each week I find myself running faster and faster, beating my personal best, but never feeling satisfied. This week I wasn’t able to keep up with that one person in the blue shorts. Last week the guy with the red shirt came out of nowhere and left me in his dust during the last mile. Even though I’m cranking out 8 minute miles, finishing well-ahead of the majority – I’m never first. There’s always someone faster.

But the lesson here isn’t to run faster. To push yourself harder. To dig deeper.

Rather, it’s a reminder that everything is relative. Tony Hsieh, Co-Founder of Zappos, has said, “There is always someone better than you.” He’s right, there is.

There will always be a guy in a red shirt who will leave you in his dust as you near the finish line. There will always be someone who comes up with an idea that is more profitable. Who has taken a bold leap before you. Who has beaten you to the punch.

Understanding that everything is relative is critically important in maintaining your sanity. Relativity keeps you humble AND it keeps you hungry. It keeps you hustling, but reminds you that you’re never going to always be the first, the strongest, or the best.

The thing about success? You’ll find the greatest success when you look in – not out. When you remind yourself where you’ve been – where you are – and where you’re headed.

That’s why I love to run. Because at the end of the day, as much as I make it out to be a competition with the guy in blue – it isn’t. Running, much a metaphor for life, is a competition with yourself. 

It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get in. You just run.

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  1. To me, this is also why you do better when you run with/against others than against a clock. There’s an internal mechanism that makes you want to compete, to catch the guy in the red shirt. You need to keep in mind your personal goals. You may never catch the person in the red shirt, but if chasing him caused you to a) run faster, or b) feel better about your run, then you succeeded. We compare ourselves to others all the time, and oftentimes, our happiness is determined by our relative position to a group (, but it’s more impactful when the happiness comes from within, from internal causes.

  2. Love this!! Especially since I deal with comparison analysis all the time and it could really cause you some serious issues. Just need to remember that I need to run. Thanks so much for posting Matt!

  3. I love this! I’ve always been careful calling myself a “runner” because then some people ask me for times or what not and I’m pretty slow. I consider myself one though, because I do run. :)