Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you. John F. Kennedy
Life is a series of races from cradle to grave; beginning from cradle to school, from school to college, from college to job, job to family and the list goes on. At times we seem to be running a couple of races simultaneously. What is common to this whole business of races is that the races seem to put us under pressure most times and we are not too sure why that happens. Worse is the uncomfortable feeling that we haven’t done our best and that we should have done even better. If we end up evaluating our lives, most times we have a sense of regret and the ire is directed inwards at ourselves because in our view we never lived up to our own abilities.
The major reason for out troubles is that the vast majority of us are too modest and fail to really appreciate our own potential and abilities. You can do a self check to know our own response when we are praised for any thing. E.g. If someone compliments you on your new hairstyle or new dress , how do you react to it will be symptomatic of our attitudes and beliefs about our self. While modesty by itself is a virtue, it is when we let modesty overwhelm us that it becomes a millstone. Then we always tend to undervalue our self and convince ourselves that we have limited ability and limited success probability. In effect we are not aiming for gold but in most cases just hoping to breast the tape. When we run a race with that mindset invariably the outcome would be just about what we aim for.
Quite a number of us shy away from competition and hard work and as a result, we try to believe that coming in second or lower is still a great achievement. It is said that when the going gets tough the tough get going; alas many of us wear T –shirts proclaiming this but in real we are a disgrace to such T-shirts. For those who do not have the competitive spirit or those who never really faced stiff competition, a real competition makes us nervous and scared. More problematic is the thought that when there is competition we need to work that much more harder and that takes time and effort. As a result we compromise and satisfy ourselves that participation is more important than the real victory. To test this hypothesis look back at the quality of project work you did in school/ college or a competitions in which u were forced to participate. More often than not, we just did enough to show that we too participated and got some marks.
We win when we set our sights on it and passionately work to win. Look back at the times when you were shamed into improving your grades, asked to play in the starting lineup despite warming the benches for a few seasons or became a hero when you participated and won after competing and beating stiff competition and your own apprehensions. On hindsight you will realize that three factors contributed to your victory; your self belief, your hard work and preparation and your focus on winning.
Remember: “Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.” Arthur Ashe
- Never accept a position of responsibility without first knowing what is expected of you. Once you have accepted that office, it is incumbent on you to discharge your duties diligently no matter what the odds are against you. Also ask yourself if you have refused responsibility. Examine the reasons for it? Work out a plan to overcome your limitations and to take on that responsibility in future.
- You are good player but you are aware that you have been appointed captain of the team because of your excellent academic performance. You feel that your teammates will resent your appointment. How will you tackle the problem? How will you convince yourself that you deserve to be the captain? How will you get the other team members to respect you as captain?
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