The advertisements for the Winter Olympics reminded me of the topic of competition and specifically with the lanes of skaters, runners, or swimmers. Each athlete running the same course with their different abilities, albeit close, in their own lane.
Lanes help keep each athlete within “their course”. Lanes allow them to be doing the same thing without interfering at all with each other. Lanes of athletes, doing the same thing, gives us a great way to compare them through their times.
Life never comes close to recreating this type of competition. Where each person is competing directly with others trying to do exactly the same thing.
I was reminded of this when talking to a good friend about our futures. We differed quite a bit on our descriptions of our future even though we are about the same age and do a lot of the same work for different companies.
We are all so very different in so many ways, yet fail to see and appreciate this. To be reminded that each of us runs a different race, seeks a different destination and hopes for a different future.
Comparing our lives with others becomes futile once you clearly understand this. We sometimes feel that our lives are constrained by lines on either side of us as if we are the athlete in the middle of the lane going “somewhere”. So we easily fall into the trap thinking that we are all running the same race.
But this is so far from the truth. Yes, we need to move forward just like the athlete. We desperately need lanes in our lives to help us become disciplined enough to keep trying and not wander in the process.
But where the race we choose to run takes us, depends on where we draw our lane and towards what goal. My race is different than yours and always will be. The important thing to remember here is that “it’s ok” that we are not exactly the same and most likely never will be.
Become the good athlete, increase your endurance, and always push yourself further using lanes as a guide but never as a ruler to measure yourself against another. For each of us are running a different race.