The Race

Why is it that we seem to have a need to compare ourselves with other people? Isn’t it odd that we generally decide how we’re doing based on where others are at?

I’ve decided to get off my career path and start again on another one. The trouble is, every now and again I speak to a friend from high school or someone I went to college with and I panic. The worst is going onto facebook! I’m often left feeling like there’s a race on and I’m coming last.

I’m not sure where this desire to keep up with the Jones’ starts. Does it come from watching our parents and mimicking their behaviour, or is it instinctive? All I know is that from an early age, I decided I was a fast runner based on the number of people I beat in a race. And that in itself may not be a bad thing. What’s worrying though is that again at an early age, I started letting the herd decide which attributes were important. So in high school the fact that I was gifted academically didn’t matter because I was terrible at most sports and sports were what mattered. At university it was popularity and again, my kung fu was weak! Now, as an adult in his late twenties, the social currency of choice is career and money.

But hang on. Why do I care? Why do I feel pressured to conform to society’s standards? Am I just a weak willed person or is it the same for everyone else? What is success? Living up to my peers’ expectations, or having the courage to pursue my own dreams, regardless of the social consequences? It sounds so obvious but when it comes down to it, how many of us have the courage to be different and to stand out? Who among us doesn’t want the admiration of their friends and family?

At the end of the day it all comes down to courage. Courage to leave the safe, secure rut you are in and try something different. Courage to risk failure. And the biggest one for me is the need for the courage to step out from under the umbrella of my loved ones’ approval.


4 responses to “The Race

  1. hey man, good thought.

    Success, to me, sometimes is based on how we compare ourselves to others. If we feel we’re better than them mostly career-wise, then we feel we’re successful. If not, we feel we’re falling behind. I’m not sure about about western parents. Chinese parents like to compare their children to children of their friends or even those strangers on the street. I don’t like that of course because I’m living my life distinct from them. My path is different. In fact, everyone’s is different and should be different. But sometimes it (peer comparison) does serve as a reminder or a drive to “catch up” because I want to be successful, better too! No matter how much I dislike being compared, mind you, people are comparing you to others or themselves already, secretly in their mind. Look beyond the surface, people’s smiles on their face. Why? Just ask: would you follow a loser or a winner? Why do people like to picture with david beckham, not you? (no offense) Why do big companies like to do business with big companies? … People like to be around, working with successful people.

  2. Being different from the crowd does take courage but also means you may be lonely in the path you’re pursuing.

    Life in a way is a race itself. You race with time especially when you’re getting older. You don’t want to be lagging behind, left behind… It is tiring but that’s life, I believe. Otherwise, if you don’t take proactive move, you will be lagging behind, left behind.

    There is a Chinese proverb, saying something like this… if you do not progress, you will regress! If you don’t move forward, you will be moving backward, not necessarily at the same stage or position. Why? Because society, technology, … is all moving forward!

    What does all this mean? It means you’re forced by external forces (forces in our society, or forces formed in other societies) to move forward, to make progress in your career path, your business, your everything. Even if you don’t like, the forces will force you, will move you. Who likes to be lagging behind? Your country is trying to stay on top. It’s like when you’re in moving crowd, the crowd move you or you move the crowd? 🙂

    Life is a race. It’s a competition. No competition, no progress.

  3. Pingback: Is life a race? « Life Life Life …

  4. Hey Life3.

    First, tahnks for taking the time to comment, i really appreciate it.

    I hear you, and I mainly agree with what you’ve said. What worries me though, is should life be a competition? Imagine how it would be if we lived and worked for nothing other than the desire for fulfilment? How different would our lives be if we didn’t care how anyone else was doing relative to ourselves?

    I want to drown out that voice inside me that says look at how well others are doing but still be motivated. Is that realistic though? I don’t know.

    Thanks again Life3.


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