“Competition is a by-product of productive work, not its goal.
A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
“The Moratorium on Brains,” The Ayn Rand Letter, I, 2, 4
This quotation has been on my wall for over 2 years. Is it a reminder to me, a small, written nudge to me whenever I need it. I am committed to looking forward rather than to the side, and that comparison and competition should not be my objective, but rather a “by-product of productive work.”
Humans compare themselves to others. It’s what we do. However, the sooner I harness my voice as an individual and develop a personal skill set, the better. I do not write, and read, and create because I want to do all of those things better than whoever else does.
Rather, I do that to accelerate my own personal growth. As I’m coming to know myself better, and understand how I’m wired, I’m learning that I am filled up from the achievements of others, and the opportunities to celebrate them.
Sometimes competition can give me an adrenaline boost, but the long-lasting effects of competition and subsequent comparison are usually feelings of inadequacy, which is both unhealthy and unproductive.
Here’s to continual self-improvement, creative momentum and competition! (in small doses)