In today's competitive society, we're taught a lie from an early age that in order to be successful, you have to be the very best at what you do and therefore be better than everyone else. And in order to be better than anyone else, you have to overcome your competition and bring everyone else down to lift yourself up.
Growing up in the performing arts, I was taught this and it was re-enforced when I studied theatre in college. I recall one particular instance when one of my good friends in my playwriting class had his play chosen to be performed in the upcoming theatre festival. I was beyond excited for him, because the play was stunning, and I remember telling another friend in the program about it. Their response wasn't joy but instead, "I never had a play chosen..."
I adored my theatre program and everyone in it, but it was full of competition and comparison, which is ultimately why I decided to leave. I've seen this environment all the time growing up because we're taught that you always have to be better than the person sitting next to you.
What a lie.
Every day, I am surrounded by people doing amazing things. I'm surrounded by friends, colleagues, and *gasp* even "competition."
Just because someone happens to have the same passion as you and has similar life goals, it doesn't mean that they're someone you have to beat. In fact, the best thing that you could possibly do is to collaborate, encourage them, lift them up - you will be lifted up as well.
Instead of reacting to other people's successes with the thought of, "Why is it that they get to do that thing and I can't?", think, "That's amazing. Maybe they can teach me how they did that." Or think, "That's incredible. Maybe we can work together on something just as awesome."
We've all individualized ourselves and maintained that we hold the true power to change the world. That we alone can do great things. I believe this is absolutely true. But think about what can happen when we put all of that individual power together into a collective whole. How much can we change when we work together and not apart?
We need to stop tearing down ourselves with comparisons and celebrate the success of others surrounding us.
We're taught that only one person can truly be the best at something, but the truth is, there's room for all of us to be great.