“In the warrior’s code there’s no surrender. Though his body says stop, his spirit cries, ‘Never!’ Deep in our soul, a quiet ember, knows it’s you against you, it’s the paradox that drives us on.” Lyrics from “Burning Heart” by Survivor

People talk a lot about competition and how it makes people better. I believe that to be true, but for me the kind of competition that improves you the most is the competition you have with yourself.
Results are a goal for many people. Athletes are measured by wins and losses. Salespeople also are judged by sales volumes and teachers get evaluated all too often by the scores their students get on standardized tests.
However, focusing on competing with others is another example of creating outcome-based goals rather than process-oriented ones. It leaves you open to playing down to your competition. If winning is the only thing that matters than you can do just enough to get by.
When you set your own standard and work to give a more focused effort today than you did yesterday — to be a little better today than yesterday — then you wind up being the best you can be.

Let me give you a baseball example. An extremely talented player can get through the minor leagues based on talent alone. A hitter doesn’t have to learn the importance of taking pitches and working counts. A pitcher doesn’t need to learn how to use his secondary pitches as much if he has an overpowering fastball. But when that player gets to the Major Leagues they find out quickly that the level of competition is a lot greater and they’re not able to get by any longer on talent alone. The ones that go on to success are the ones who recognize that the quickest and continually look each day to improve their approach and not just their results.
Imagine how much quicker they would be successful if during their climb through the minors their focus was not just on results, but on adding the skills that would help them when they reached the Majors.

Today, stop competing against others and instead turn that focus within. Regardless of how much success you’re having ask yourself how you can get better, what new thing can you learn that will help you improve?

Win Your Day! By Steve Gilbert