All too often we find ourselves preoccupied with measuring our own self-worth based upon another’s successes and failures. As if you’re better because someone else is worse. That’s a poor system for developing success. Athletes and coaches across the country are all too aware of each other’s progress. Secretly hiding and watching behind the other end of the social media lens. Judging the perceived flaws they see, and using that as the proof they need to substantiate their own superiority. Stifling progress in a sport because they safeguard their knowledge like money buried under a mattress. It’s you, not your competition, that determines whether or not you’ll be the best. And really you can only hope to be your best. Sharing with each other and focusing on an internal locus of control is the path to greatness.
Focus on an internal locus of control. Looking inward can lead you to productivity. Concerning yourself with external forces that you can’t control, and blaming the rest of the world for your difficulties, that will not lead to any improvement. How much you learn, how hard you train, how dedicated you are to your craft. Those are all variables that you can influence. The best that we can strive for is that we will unlock the full limits of our own genetic potential. Collaboration, not isolation, will push you further, faster. Stop pretending that you have all of the answers and start learning from each other. After all, your success has nothing to do with someone else’s failure. If we spent more time sharing with each other, instead of judging each other’s mistakes behind closed doors, we could avoid our own wasted time from known mistakes.
Pay no attention to what you can’t control. A common misconception in basic economic theory is that one more dollar for me is one less dollar for you. Wealth is created by, and owned by, the individual in the same way that one’s success is created by, and owned by, the individual. It’s not a finite shared resource. You can’t control how many elite athletes another coach creates any more than you can influence how much an athlete will improve. And if the coach, or the athlete, improves, that doesn’t mean your potential is any less. Usain Bolt broke all of the growth rate curves in the world of sprinting, effectively pushing the sport ahead many years in its expected rate of improvement, all while being told that he wasn’t built right for the sport. That couldn’t have happened if he wasn’t internally driven and focused.
Greatness comes from within and it arrives sooner with collaboration. Better implies a comparison to an external standard. Better means that you achieved some modicum of success because someone else just didn’t show up. Seek to be great, not better.