You're Not Your Best Competition
You may have heard the saying, “stop competing with others and start competing with yourself.” I don't agree with this.
We tend to think we are better than we are and accept our mediocre efforts because of this. There is always someone more committed, more disciplined, doing something better, smarter, working harder than you. Competing against yourself isn’t enough sometimes. Yes, it would be nice if we could truly be the one who sets our own standards, but that generally doesn't work for most people.
Find someone who is better than you, constantly pushing you, kicking your butt on a daily basis. This can light a fire and push you to do more than simply competing against yourself.
Competitiveness should place in you a healthy contempt for your greatest competition. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had a healthy contempt for each other. Bird said, “The first thing I’d do is look at the box scores to see what Magic did. I didn’t care about anything else.” Magic said when the new schedule came out he would circle the two Boston games. He said, “To me, it was the TWO and the other 80.”
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had furious battles that pushed them to building two of the richest companies to ever exist. Jobs would go on tirades saying Gates made “third-rate products.” Gates would say “there’s nothing about the IPad I look at and say, ‘Oh I wish Microsoft had done that.’” In the end, Gates said, “We were not at war. We made great products and competition was always a positive thing."
A tough competitor is something that you should be looking for constantly. They stretch you. They motivate you. They anger you. They stir that competitive spirit that everyone needs to go one step further.