How many of your kindergarten classmates are currently your colleagues? What about secondary school or high school classmates?
If you are in your 30s, the chances are that the answer is 0.
We are wired to compete. Our schools exacerbate this instinct. The truth, however, is that we’ve got this completely wrong. Just because someone is on the same path as us doesn’t mean they’re heading to the same destination. And, just because someone is further along the path doesn’t mean they’re at the same point in their journey.
We’re always going to have people like us – fellow executives, fellow entrepreneurs, and so on. It is tempting to compare notes – salaries, funding rounds, education, grades, and so on. It is, however, useless.
We’re all on journeys to unknown destinations. Every once a while, we have others join us on that path for a little while. Instead of competing with them, trying to push them out of the path or looking at them with envy, what we must really do is be happy for their presence and continue working on making progress on our path. The more we focus on them, the more we detract from asking the important questions – “am I on the right path in the first place?”, “am I doing the best I can?”
There’s a secret that all incredible companies share – they don’t make decisions based on their competition. They keep doing things that build off their strengths and they always end up doing better than the rest. It is the same idea at play in our lives. We are on our own unique journey. Let’s celebrate and help the occasional “path-sharer” – they make the journey meaningful and fulfilling.