You’re already better than them. You are. They try a little and you try more. They win sometimes and you win more. They’re smart, but you’re clearly smarter.
You’re better than them.
Which brings up a bigger question: Who are they?
You can always find someone that you’re better than. It’s not that hard.
You might be a better businessman than the homeless person sitting outside your office. You’re probably a better athlete than your child. Chances are, you know more than a fifth grader. You’re better than them.
And while those are extreme examples, they are a lot like the comparisons that we make to justify how good we are.
Instead of comparing ourselves to the best, we find somebody that we’re better than. And because we are better than them, that somehow is an excuse for the rest of our inadequacies.
It’s silly de-motivational mind-trash.
It’s the primal, defensive thinking rooted in fear and pain rather than the inspiration of wanting to be better at any cost. It’s a mindset of placating failure rather than demanding more from yourself — even when you’re not sure you’re capable of doing more.
This “better than someone, somewhere” attitude shows up in how we talk about goals and expectations for ourselves.
We find ourselves talking eloquently about “being reasonable” and “being realistic”. We think we’re being classy and sophisticated. And we’re dead wrong.
Those are never the attitudes of a champion. Those are never the intentions of a superstar.
Some psychologists would tell us that aiming for too big of goals and failing creates unnecessary disappointment; and that that disappointment is crippling. But they’re looking at performance from the wrong angle. A common trait among all high-achievers is their willingness to push themselves in uncomfortable situations where failure is the most likely option.
They do this because they understand a simple concept.
They could compare themselves to others around them and still look better then some. But the real measure for comparison is not those around them. It’s the person they could be. That’s what superstars compare themselves to.
Being better than they should be.
And it directly results in breakthrough performances. In moments of life changing experience.
They become better than anyone.
Which brings us back to where we started. You’re already better than them. It’s not even a contest.
But are you better than you?
That’s the real comparison to make.