You Are Your Biggest Competitor

Dear Friend,

Imagine this—If Michael Phelps was to be considered as a nation, he would rank as the 39th most successful nation in the 122- year old history of the Summer Olympics. His 23 gold medals are almost two and half times the gold medals won by India (nine) in all Olympic Games taken together. Hiding behind his glittering closet filled with gold medals, there is another side to Phelps’ life. As a 10-year old child, he was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), making it extremely difficult for him to focus on a single thing for longer durations. But this is where he differed from other kids of his age. After he was introduced to swimming by his mother, he discovered his love for the sport and subsequently made it his life’s goal to become the best swimmer ever that the world has ever seen. To overcome his inherent problem, Phelps trained six hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, for almost two decades. Be it the Weekends, Christmas or Birthdays—all these days were the same for him. He never once missed a day of practice—unless injured. He was determined to be the best and he made it happen through sheer hard work. Thus, his success was because of his ability to do what others did not want to.

His life story holds numerous lessons for students and aspirants alike. Success is a limited commodity and as with any other commodity that is limited in number and has a lesser supply than demand, the price of success is quite significant, thus making it unaffordable for many. However, it is still considered to be a great leveller since the only cost that success demands is hard work—a commodity that can’t be purchased anywhere and has to be imbibed through self efforts. Have you ever been in a position as a student where you leave out studying a certain topic since you thought that others would also skip it, either because it is too complex or since it seems unimportant? Almost every student goes through this phase. But this is where the problem lies. With same levels of preparation as the other students, it would be foolish to expect a different result than others.

One of the most standout features of all successful people is that they put in extraordinary efforts day in and day out, without waiting for one fine day in the future when their quest towards excellence would begin. They do not procrastinate. If you take a look at some of the world’s greatest athletes, most successful entrepreneurs, or anyone who has mastered their craft, and try to find the connecting line amongst all of them, you will find that they made a firm commitment to achieve daily excellence. There are no off days in your journey towards success until you reach your goal. When your competitors aren’t taking their time off, how can you afford to do that?

All successful people have one thing in common—they believe that they can do what others have not even thought about. They do not bind themselves with the opinions of others. They set their own limits and decide their own path rather than looking for a path already made by someone else. Edison thought he could create the light bulb, Phelps thought that he could win an unthinkable and unprecedented 8 gold medals in a single Olympics. We have all had some brilliant ideas in the middle of the night, only to find that in the clear light of day they were not worth pursuing or worth giving up what we were currently pursuing. The recipe of success is simple. Believe in your goal and don’t restrict your efforts just because someone else thinks that your goal is too far away. Dare to be extraordinary to be the best.

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