Beat yourself

Posted by on April 05, 2015 · 2 mins read

This week, at the SRXP team day, I was asked about my motto. Now generally, I posess what I like to call a profound hatred of profoundness. What this means in practice is that the event of me reading or hearing motivational slogans or otherwise forced meaningful statements is often accompanied by the barely resistable urge to force the palm of my hand and my face to get better acquainted. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate clever use of language or a smart play on words and will value these statements as such, but let’s not pretend they are any more than that - devoid of any meaning and foregoing the fact that life is in fact much more complicated.

Given that rant it may seem surprising (it was to me when I found out) that I do, in fact, have a motto. A rather simple one as well:

Beat yourself.

People are born into wildly varying environments with wildly different genetic traits. For everything that you can or want to do there may be up to billions of people better or worse at it than you, for reasons entirely beyond your control. The closest thing to a true adversary that you’ll get in life, barring the edge case of identical siblings, is you. So whenever I want to decide how "good" I am at something, I try to answer the question: Could I get better at it? Could I beat myself? And then I might go out and do it.

Time and luck are still factors so it may not be a perfect strategy, but it avoids getting stuck comparing to others. Because if you look at those billions, what reason is there to achieve anything?