I have been getting up earlier and earlier lately. Everyone is different and different things work for different people, but I’m actively discovering what works best for me in order to maximize my efficiency, productivity, and impact I have on the world around me. I’ve found that when I get up really early, I am extremely productive; more productive than I am late at night. So, I’ve decided to get up earlier and get more done.
One morning, I woke up in the pitch black darkness of the morning, collected my things, and headed to the gym. The roads were a ghost town.
Barreling down the barren highway, I felt like I was Will Smith in I Am Legend. I was only reminded of reality when a random pair of headlights would break the horizon. Then, in an instant, I would be alone on the road again. I got to the gym, organized my things, and hopped on the treadmill. I began my run and about 10 minutes in, I took a look around the gym that is part of my office building.
There was no one around.
The lights were only half on and I couldn’t figure out how to get them working, so I ran in dim light. Even the janitors had not yet arrived as far as I could tell. As I continued running, I looked at the treadmill to my left. There was no one running on it. The treadmill to my right? That one was empty too. I realized I’m not racing anyone on this perpetual hamster wheel except for myself.
In that moment I came to a realization:
- I am my own worst enemy
- I am my only competition
- I am my limits
Replace “I” with “You” and you have a statement very relevant to your own situation. There’s no progress in comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own limits and you don’t know any of your competition any more than you know yourself. If you take the time, you can get to know the ins and outs of yourself, but there comes a limit to how much you can know about your competition.
One important point is:
you don’t know what their limits are.
When you measure yourself to others, all you do is limit your progress. Who is to say their limit is your limit? When you compare yourself to your competition you accept their limit as your own. What about when you compete only with yourself? When you compete only with yourself, your limits disappear. I had been waking up before the sun even realized today was here. No one was on the road with me. No one was running next to me on the treadmill. I had no one to push me; no one to compare myself to.
I had to push myself. I was my only competition.
That’s when I realized something else:
That is how you stay miles ahead of your competition.
I’ve done more before my competition opened their eyes than they may do all morning. Now, I am sure there are plenty of people surpassing my own limits out there, but the point is, what would happen if I did gauge my limits by others? What if I did gauge my limits by someone who has yet to show up?
What if I waited to work out until they arrived?
Maybe they aren’t even pushing their limits. Or perhaps they think they’re already at their limits. You can’t know your limits until you push yourself. And that should be your biggest take away from this post:
YOU have to push your limits.
YOU have to drive you.
No one else will push you where you need to be. Stop letting everyone else’s limits limit yourself. Find your own limits…then push them…then break them…you’ll soon find that your potential is limitless, but only if you look past all the limits everyone else has built for you.
- Define your own limits, then set out to prove them wrong. Let everyone else sleep on their dreams.
- You go out there and make them happen.