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.