“Races aren’t won by looking at your competition.”
I picked up this gem of knowledge somewhere along the way training for a half marathon. Long since I have but altogether quit long distance running but I still refer to it on a regular basis… usually when I find myself caught in a comparative, competitive loop.
Even in yoga we find ourselves comparing our postures to those next to us when in reality at the end of the day in a power class… we’re all bloody uncomfortable and experiencing some obstacles be it mental or physical or both. Are you going to hate every minute of it? Are you going to focus on your burning calves, how long you have left in your practise OR how good your child’s pose feels, and how a year ago you couldn’t do a head stand? The point is, it’s not what really happens in the class or the race but what your focus is and what you make your reality.
There is a great racing story about the hindu deity Ganesha. Ganesha was challenged to race against his brother, Kartikay by his parents. His parents, Shiva and Parvati, challenged the brothers to a race around the universe. The victor of the race would be awarded a great gift. Kartikay rushes out to conquer the globe as fast as he can, spares no time on his journey determined to rise to his parent’s challenge.
Ganesha on the other hand, does not move but instead meditates right in the spot his parents issued the challenge. Shiva and Parvati are perplexed by Ganesha’s perceived lack of competitive spirit. They wonder why their son is just sitting there… not doing anything.
Just as Kartikay is beginning to wrap up his frantic trek around the globe, Ganesha stands up out of his meditation and calmly and leisurely walks in a circle around his parents who are completely confused. Ganesha sits back down in front of them and declares that he is finished.
He states that his universe is nothing more than his parents Shiva and Parvati and consequently his universe declares him the winner.
At the end of the race, do you think that Ganesha’s universe suddenly became the prize? Do you think that as soon as he won the insight he gained through is introspection suddenly became irrelevant to him because his challenge was finished?
I doubt it.
One lesson you could take away from this story is that Ganesha had looked to his competition, his brother, and mindlessly followed him, he would have not only lost the race but also a little bit of knowledge about what’s important to him… and the world would have lost a valuable lesson.
Well… at the very very least I would have lost a valuable lesson in introspection. 🙂
The example I find in my life is how I have a habit of revolving everything around work. When I really boil it down though what is work? It’s just doing a bunch of stuff if you’re not learning and growing . If you’re learning and enjoying yourself it’s not really about the work then is it? It’s more about growing , not about work, a promotion, or a raise and certainly not about a race or a finish line.
So much in life we let someone else dictate what our universe becomes just by doing and not really turning inward to understand what we’re doing or not doing and why we are making these choices.
Life is not so much about racing around to amass accomplishments as it is on focusing on what really matters, what we truly want to make the centre of our universe. That universe that we create will dictate our success and if we truly feel like winners.
As I reflect on my last 4 years at my dream job, I really feel like I’ve won in my life but shifting forward to the next 30 days it’ll be interesting to see what prize my experience becomes.