The only person you need to beat is the person you were yesterday.
Such a simple, yet powerful lesson I’ve learned from one of my communication courses, Managing Public Relations. I am lucky enough to have a professor who believes in teaching the foundation of morality alongside management.
One of our texts for this semester is titled, If Aristotle Ran General Motors, and the title is pretty self explanatory. Each chapter covers a certain virtue that we’ve probably learned from our mothers in grade school, but nonetheless have been forgotten in the corporate world.
One particular chapter discussed the basic human desire for competition. The downfall, however, is when we focus on beating our opponent more than we value our own performance. Tom Morris, the author of the book, reveals that the best competition is the one in which we strive to be better than the person we were yesterday, which ultimately gives us greater confidence in ourselves.
With all of the pressure of internships, assignments, and future planning, stopping for a minute to think of only weighing my progress against yesterday really boosts my mood. If I submit an application today, I am further than yesterday. If I started a work out today, it was more than I did yesterday. I never realized that one of the most depressing things is measuring my one workout against that girl on Instagram who has probably worked out and dieted for years.
My current goal will be to focus my efforts and progress on me, not others. To feel the accomplishment of one simple task today that could lead to something even greater. I hope that whatever it is that you do today, you credit yourself for coming farther than yesterday.