“Life is a race, if you don’t run fast, you will be like a broken anda (egg)” - Viru ‘Virus’ Sahastrabuddhe (3 Idiots)
This dialogue from a famous Bollywood movie depicts what’s been ingrained in us about life - we are all in a competition, a running race where only winning the 1st prize matters.
The recently concluded Olympics set my thinking batteries - on the run!
Are we all in the same race? You may think of it as a walk, taking small steps or just being on-the-move!
As per societal norms and expectations, the answer is an obvious yes!
If we break away from these stereotypes, think beyond “this is normal”, we’ll realise our race-tracks are different, our struggles, our runs, and hence our finish lines are diverse.
The world is beautiful because it’s made of different kinds of people with their unique set of skills and abilities. Some are fit for short-distance and hurdle races, still others run middle and long distances; expertise required to be a marathon runner is very different from that of a sprinter.
Then, why this need to conform to standards, the constant need to fit into a box?
If we were to decide for ourselves - what type of race or speed to undertake, what milestones to achieve and where the finish line will be, wouldn’t we be happier?
Our destinations may change tomorrow and that would be okay too, but that decision should be ours.
What’s important, however, is to train ourselves for whichever race we’re preparing to run. This training time is for challenging ourselves, slowly upping our game, so each time we run, the outcome is better than our previous run.
You may better your strategy based on your opponent/s game, that’s also a part of your training, but the competition is with yourself to perform better than your last run.
The hurdles in the race shouldn’t deter us, the goal of reaching the finish line being our only objective.
So, how to create a better version of ourselves & be the best in everything we do?
Mind you! - I am not saying, be the best in everything in this world, be the best in everything that you do!
Perform this exercise, replace the - look at he/she, they/them with you. Simple?!
Look at yourself, within yourself and by yourself. Read that again!
1. Look at yourself (focus on yourself Vs others)
2. Look within yourself (introspect/reflect)
3. Look by yourself (self-feedback)
1. Look at yourself
We are conditioned to compare with others successes so we tend to evaluate and blame others for our misgivings.
“I didn’t finish the presentation because the team didn’t work well together”, “I got late as my maid came in late today”, “I get angry when my husband doesn’t help out” and so on.
People keep switching jobs but if they actually ponder and adapt, unless it’s a dire situation, they may find the world changing around them. When we take control of our lives, we’ll automatically stop blaming others and look at ourselves to make anything possible.
Instill these habits to take charge of your life:
- Work smart - managing time effectively, prioritizing tasks/goals, learning to say no as a self-care tactic, avoiding procrastination are crucial practices to inculcate for creating better versions our ourselves
- Focus on quality - instead of trying to do everything and getting distracted, focus on the smaller details to achieve big things.
- Believe in your talent - having confidence in your abilities inspite of failures to persistently strive towards the goal post.
- Challenge yourself - when you’re confident and determined, trying new ideas, adapting to difficult situations and challenging your comfort zone becomes a part of life.
Athletes continuously challenge themselves through physical cross-training techniques and increasing their running scope through easy runs, tempo/speed runs, hill runs and so on.
When one moves beyond fear, even unexplored areas may give joy and you may end up excelling.
2. Look within yourself
Introspect/reflect to discover your passion - If you don’t love what you do, you’ll not enjoy the journey, even achievements that come your way won’t provide you happiness.
So, evaluate your strengths, explore and pursue that which drives you, consumes you. Once you discover your passion, live it fully, savour it, enjoy it.
Warm down - just like a warm-up, warming down is important. Everyone needs a moment to pause, refuel and return with renewed vigour. Find relaxing activities such as being with nature, meditation, gardening, painting etc.
3. Look by yourself
- Set self-goals - continuously assess/measure these against progress to stride forward. The introspection exercise and relaxation are part of your journey towards improvement.
- Seek feedback from others - but finally listen to your heart, it’s your journey, you’re the best judge to gauge your development.
Remember, in life, the race towards excellence doesn’t really have a destination, the process is unceasing, you must keep pushing the goal post ahead, keep bettering your best --
Be the best parent, the best employee, the best leader, the best friend,
And, when the gun is fired, run the race of your life to wear your medal of excellence - get-set-go!
“Excellence is not being your best; it is doing your best” - Anonymous