Only Internal Competition Matters
You wouldn't know it from the picture, but this is what disappointment looks like. I have helped my client here fight through severe injury at the age of 59 to clinch a second place victory in a drug-tested professional natural bodybuilding competition. The journey was tough, mentally and emotionally brutal at times, doubtful many more, but completed. And by all accounts (even those of the judges in prejudging) she had trounced all of her competition. But some decision in the evening rendered a verdict of second place, astonishingly and, for a moment, crushingly. It was a good reminder that the only competition of real consequence was the fight she had gone through to get there, not the battle on stage as measured by select onlookers.
No matter what, in external evaluation, how you measure up will always be dependent on judges who just don't know what you went through and who may be carrying all sorts of baggage preventing them from seeing clearly where you are right now. Even in a forum like this, where the metrics are fairly clear cut, there is always room for a few decision makers to hone in on some distracting and ultimately inconsequential detail instead of who is the best overall.
This will happen in college applications, job interviews, dating, bodybuilding shows, sales pitches, Shark Tank, performance reviews, strategy meetings, and life in general. Look no further than comments on YouTube or at the bottom of an online article. You'll find that most of the people who feel compelled to opine passionately on any given subject are fairly well disconnected from reality. Don't be surprised to find some of these same people in positions where they get to render judgement on others on a regular basis. Because they change as time goes on, their criteria of evaluation change, and so you may even find them judge a very similar event completely differently at a later date. The same will be true when they evaluate you, and anything you say, do or believe. What they think is arbitrary, subjective, naive and based on a set of values you do not share. So really, who cares, at all?
But there is one person who knows every tear cried, every deadline met, every assignment completed when exhausted and at wits end, every alarm clock set, every drop of blood and sweat shed on the way to where you are. Only one person knows this. Only you know the battle that raged inside to get to where you are. And only that internal competition matters when all is said and done.
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