Is Your Competitive Nature Leading to Discontent?

24 Jan

Wherever you are right now is exactly where you should be.

My yoga instructor is a little kooky. Once he literally mistook his reflection in the mirror for a new student in the back of the class. Nevertheless, every so often he’ll say something so simple that it’s actually quite profound. His latest gem came a couple of weeks ago as we all struggled with a new yoga pose – one of those real bendy, twisty balancing poses that we all know and love. As we grunted and contorted our faces with discomfort he said “Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Wherever you are right now is exactly where you should be.” I was blown away.

I’ve always been a competitive person and practicing yoga has helped me to bring this quality to light so that I can address it. After my first yoga class, I went home bragging to my fiance that I was among the most flexible people in the class. I had held the poses the longest and I could touch the floor when everyone else struggled to touch their shins. Comparing myself to everyone else in the class did nothing to bring me closer to quieting my mind or becoming one with my breath, it just ensured that I was slightly better than the person next to me.

I was being a competitive jerk.

I had somehow turned yoga into some crazy competition which is so not the point of yoga. It’s not the point of life either. As 20-somethings, we’re taught to be uber competitive with ourselves and each other. We push ourselves to stack up to our peers in terms of jobs, cars, homes, clothes and wedding rings. This fierce competitiveness often breeds discontent and self doubt, particularly when we do not believe we are measuring up to the others in our peer group. It’s one of the biggest factors of the quarter life crisis. We set out to keep up with the Joneses and set expectations that are not in line with where we are and where we are going.We’re only hurting ourselves by constantly comparing ourselves to the person next to us. Our feelings of self worth cannot be aligned with someone else’s expectations. We focus so much of our energy externally. Instead we should recognize that where we are at right now is precisely where we should be.

How about you? Have you found yourself competing with others? How has this affected your life?

Nailah

Oh, and I am happy to say that I have been able to focus on myself during yoga rather than others in the class and I have never felt more at peace. 🙂

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One Response to “Is Your Competitive Nature Leading to Discontent?”

  1. Amina January 24, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    PREACH!
    guess, what I also think that I am more flexible than the others..lol
    you are so right!!
    growing up, I was told to be soft spoken and when I came to the US, I was told that you need to be super competitive!! It hasn’t helped me to compete with the joneses but it has brought so much more ache, self-doubt and pain.
    Even now as a teacher, I am always comparing to others wondering whether students think I am the worst teacher they’ever had or the best of the best…shoot, If i could teach all the classes at the university so that i won’t have competition i will..LOL

    that sentence is amazing and reminds me to patient….thank you

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