Usually we want to be always ahead of our competition. We want to be the pioneers, the first and best ones in our business area. But there is one competitor that almost goes forgotten. If he is able to beat you and be better than you every time, it doesn’t matter what others will do, you’ll be always improving.
The traditional way to make a pass on the competition is the direct comparison with your rivals. But comparing yourself with others involves risks and cons. First of all by comparing yourself with the competition you must realize that you have different resources, abilities, power of will, beliefs, world view, inhibition thresholds, preferences and much more. To put it short you are different than your competition. By comparing yourself with others, you only equate properties that you and your competitors have in common and leave the ones out which have no homogeneous antagonist. It’s like only focusing on the strengths of your adversary without considering your owns. What is the problem of this process? The problem is you only grow as much as your competition does, because you have them set as your yardstick. When they don’t grow you also don’t grow. In the worst case you even go under, because the strengths of your opponents could even be your weaknesses.
There is one more competitor and he is the most important one. This other opponent you’ve got to face, which is mostly forgotten, is no other than your past self. Something special happens, when you see yourself, your organisation or your company as competition. By comparing yourself to yourself you have a huge advantage, because your know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your beliefs and even your limits. What you’ve got to do is trying to get better than you were yesterday. Step by step you will be getting further. By doing that, there will be no limits to your growth anymore. Your growth will be continuous regardless of what your opponents are doing. But why is that so? Imagine yesterday you were able to do 10 push-ups. To grow you must do at least 11 push-ups today and that will surely seem easier to do than to do 50 push-ups right away. If you compare yourself to you competitor who already can do 50 push-ups, you’ll discourage yourself and the task will appear to be impossible. So you got to keep losing to yourself everyday and eventually you will surpass your competitors.
What most people don’t realize is that the “big leap” doesn’t exist. To do a big, innovative leap you first need to walk countless painful little steps. The point is to develop perseverance to preserve the continuity. So every time you improve and get better be happy and don’t disregard your progress no matter how small it is. Keep losing to yourself.