One issue that many students, job seekers and those seeking upward mobility in their careers focus on is competition. But how do you actually compete with others? At first glance, and likely the way you have thought about competition your entire life, the only option is to do better than the other people you are up against. This makes sense. How do you win, if you don’t beat your competition? In reality, the true meaning of competition is something completely different.
Who do You Control?
Think of a normal day at work. You and one other individual are both competing for a promotion. What can you do to give yourself better odds of earning the title? How much influence do you have over the other person that is gunning for the same position? Sure, you could make a great movie out of a wild plan to sabotage your competition, but that is not what you are going to do.
Wait, some people actually do sabotage their competition. So why wouldn’t you? First, it is simply wrong. You won’t get anywhere in life, at least not for long, if you aren’t doing things on the up and up. You need to work hard, be successful and do what is right. Even if you don’t think you are going to get recognized for doing that, it doesn’t matter. You aren’t doing what is right for others, you are doing what is right for you. The only person you can control is you.
So, barring sabotage, how do you position yourself to beat your competition? You don’t. Not exactly at least. Instead, you work as hard as you can to do the best of which you are capable and you let your actions speak for themselves. When you worry about what the other guy is doing, you are taking away from the energy that you need to do the best you can.
How Do You Outdo Your Competition?
Since you aren’t going to have any impact on your competition’s actions, you need to find another way to win, right? Again, this is not how things work in the real world. This is not how you will become a success in your life. Instead, you simply work as hard as you can and let the chips fall where they may.
Michael Jordan was, is, one of the best basketball players of all time. There are those that are better though. You may not have ever heard of them. They simply didn’t get a chance to play in the spotlight. Their timing wasn’t right. Michael Jordan was so good because he came along at the right time, and did exactly what he needed to do, to the best of his abilities. But there is always someone better in the world.
You may want your promotion more than anything in the world. You likely deserve it. You may not deserve it as much as your competition does, at least not yet. Competition is a direct result of being successful. You can’t factor in the talents of those you compete against and you can’t have a negative impact on what they do. You have no control over them. Instead, you have to focus on the person you do have control over. You have to focus on yourself and your own actions.
Let Actions Speak
The only way you will ever move forward in life is by showing who you are through action. Action is key to everything from your personal life to your studies to your career. You can tell someone, in an interview perhaps, all the things you can do, but unless you actually do those things, they are just words. When you start performing at your best, you won’t have competition. You won’t have to worry about what else you can do to get the new position. You will just have to wait for those that have the power to promote you to see that you are ready.
Time is a cruel mistress. Impatience is something you have to overcome. Wanting the position right now does not mean you are going to get it. You can’t wish upon a lucky star and get a promotion if someone else is more ready than you are right now. Instead, focus on being the best you can be, through action, and make it clear that you want whatever that goal is you are after. Once you do that, you have done everything in your power to reach your goals. All that is left is to wait for those that have the power to promote you to see that you are ready. Take solace in the fact that they will see that, sooner or later, and rest well every day knowing that you are doing exemplary work.
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