Never Getting Any Less

“When you’re trying hard to be your best, could you be a little less?” ~ Madonna

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Less (adj):a smaller amount or proportion of something

 

Do you live up to your full potential? Do you, and this is the deeper one, even want to?

I ask because being something, someone, can be scary. Trying, striving, maybe achieving but with no guarantees; does this make you want to hide your light under a bushel rather than blaze out in defiance of all detractors?

There’s a lot of people out there who like to keep people down. Witness the schadenfreude that comes out when someone perceived to have ‘made it’ topples from their successful perch. It’s less keeping up with the Joneses, more keeping the Joneses down.

I think there’s a meanness of spirit that comes out when we try to belittle others and hobble their talents. Is it because your life has not gone in ways you wanted that you feel the need to mock the achievements of others or to put down their dreams? It is neither pleasant nor acceptable. Your life is in your control; if you aren’t happy then change it, don’t take that frustration out on others.

However, our biggest detractor can be the one in our head. That little voice that says you don’t deserve that job, that you’d never be any good at it anyway, to flatten that secret hope in our heart. The three o’clock in the morning voice, insidious in its approach to tell us we can’t be or do what we want, that we will never be good enough. And we grow fearful, we lessen ourselves, we lose our bravery to try.

Yet we shouldn’t. Who are we to do that to ourselves? If there’s enough out there in the world trying to make us less then can’t we at least encourage ourselves to be more, to do more?

The following is a poem is by Marianne Williamson. If you’re not religious then please replace the mention of God with whatever your belief system is or just the universe in general if that works for you. But do take the time to read and think on the words.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.

Your playing small 
Does not serve the world. 
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking 
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, 
As children do. 
We were born to make manifest 
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; 
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, 
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we’re liberated from our own fear, 
Our presence automatically liberates others.

I think we should be a little less; a little less mean to and about others, a little less full of fear, a little less willing to be hobbled. But to be less ourselves? Never. You are you. Be you, to the best you can be, for as long as you can be.

Never getting any less.

 

Princess

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Competition

“Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” ~ Annie Get Your Gun

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Competition (n): the act of competing, rivalry

 

2012 saw the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in London. These are viewed by many as the pinnacle of sporting competition, the best pitted against the best, for the ultimate in sporting prize.

However it seems the best don’t compete against each other; they only compete against themselves. To be the very best that they can be.

To that end, there was an excellent piece of analysis of the Usain Bolt 100 metres final race. Bolt had a bad start (false start fears possibly lingering) and powered harder to make up for it. As he passed his competitors there was a ripple effect. They were no longer running their own race, they were trying to catch him and this caused them to stiffen, no longer running as fluidly as they were before. In terms of time, this relates to mere tenths of seconds. However, as you have probably been reading this piece for longer than a 100 metres final race lasts, that shows how important those tenths are. And how important it is to run your own race.

It makes for an interesting point if you apply to life in general. How many of us try harder because we want to be more like someone else or to be better than them? So we’re always striving to catch up, no longer moving smoothly through our own lives but trying to chase theirs. How much more could we achieve if we focused on just running our own race?

The side of competitive behaviour I don’t like are those who form the been there, done that, made that t-shirt brigade. Everyone knows someone who always leaps in with their own bit of knowledge that is ‘obviously’ better than anyone else’s, their own bit of a story to outdo all the others. Probably, at times, we have all been guilty of this. But is it worth it? Just to put yourself out there as always being the one who knows? Just think, everyone we will ever meet knows something we don’t; how wonderful to think that we could learn from them instead of competing against them.

That’s not to say don’t share knowledge with others when you have it. Nor is it wrong to be inspired by others. But share knowledge to help others grow, not just to show off that you’ve got it. Take inspiration from the acts of others but use it to be the best you can. No-one else will ever be you. Challenge yourself to be best you that you can ever be and stop competing against the rest.

I leave you with this thought:

I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself” ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov

Interested in your thoughts, as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard.

 

Princess