I'm Learning To Refocus My Motivations And Be My Own Biggest Competition

I'm learning to Refocus my Motivations and be my own biggest Competition

We live in a competitive world, but that doesn't mean you have to look at what others are doing and compare your life to their's.


From an early age, we are taught the value of "winning." For many people, finding something to be "the best" at was the goal to get into college and to pursue future careers. For others, competitive settings allow for cathartic inner understandings about themselves in order to grow as individuals. However, with competition comes comparisons. When we put ourselves in competitive settings we end up comparing our progress and successes to others. "How are they able to do this or that?" "Bet they can't do this," or "I've already done that."

On one hand, having a competitive spirit can be healthy. The motivation to be better to be above an immediate standard, and the ability to push yourself so that you're contributing to your own personal successes. On the other hand, however, it is really easy to self-evaluate yourself based on the people you're directly associated with. This is not an argument advocating for participation trophies for all my sticklers out there reading. This article addresses how I switched from letting others fuel my motivation and letting my own personal drive lead to my accomplishments. I became my own biggest competition to achieve success, and that isn't reserved just for the "G.O.A.T.S" in our society.

As a musician and former athlete, I understand both aspects and have learned to understand what makes me tick. However, I will honestly admit that I compare myself to others all the time.

As a musician/performer, I have gone into auditions and showcases easily getting wrapped up in the things I see on the surface. "Wow they have a wider range than me," or "Jeesh, they are really good looking, and they're talented?!," and even "I bet they have way more (or less) experience than I do I bet."

Being in music school I've easily sacrificed my humility to make myself feel better or worse about not getting what I want, or not accomplishing things that I believe I've worked hard for. I compare myself to my colleagues based on the music they are assigned, the grades and marks they receive, or even the amount of attention my instructors give to certain students. However, a lesson that's constantly emphasized is that I cannot compare myself to another musician's (specifically, vocalists) progress. Despite how easy it is to do, I didn't know all the time they put into their craft, just as they don't know how much I put into mine.

Because our journeys as artists are so unique and individualized, my growth was only going to continue if I allowed myself to fully invest in myself and not into what other people are doing. I had to make sure that when I went to go practice that I didn't focus on what I was hearing around me and focused more on the growth happening right in front of me. This also included how much stress that I could put on myself before it became unhealthy and destructive. Understanding my own limitations and how to move past them, as opposed to seeing other's limitations and claiming them as my own.

When I was a dedicated runner in high school, my self-consciousness was heightened because of my physical capabilities and attributes. I'm only 5'5" and I was running against/with runners often significantly taller than me for long-distance running. For a while instead of just saying, "I can be just as fast as them," I would say "I wish I had longer legs and was as tall them," or "Maybe if I weigh LESS and eat certain foods, then I'll be faster" (which frankly started its own problems). I was my own worst enemy and ultimately because I was more committed to singing I stopped running for a long time after my last season in high school.

I wasn't mature enough to understand that although I wasn't the fastest runner on my team, I still loved running. Since I had stopped running I told everyone how much I hated it and how it was a waste of time, but in reality being a runner boosted my personal confidence of what I was capable of doing on and off the track. I built a mental endurance and strength that's helped me persevere through many tough experiences. Currently, by focusing more on how I could be a better runner, my training is going far better than any workout or race during high school. My physical progression is allowing my body to feel and look better than it ever has, and my attention has switched to my individual growth.

My hope in sharing those experiences is that you as the reader can identify similarities in your environments. Have you ever felt not good enough because you saw someone else doing "better"? Do you ever feel like other people just have it so much easier than you for seemingly no reason? Maybe you're trying to measure to someone else simply to impress others?

It's ok to learn from your peers and their experiences because, as opposed to sizing yourself up against them, you are opening your mind to new ideas and tactics to help you in the long run. It's also ok to learn from their mistakes without making yourself superior or better because you haven't made that mistake yet. Understand that the smallest of changes to your mindset may help in the long run (pun intended), and I am continuing to practice what I'm preaching. Competition is great and has its benefits, but as an individual, I found redirecting your focus and energy can help you find what you really want out of your gifts and talents, and, more importantly, your life.

At the end of the day it is so important to understand that by comparing yourself to other people all the time, you stunt your own growth. I think I would be so much farther along if I didn't worry so much about what I thought of others and what they think of me. I set my own standard for what I want to achieve in life as opposed to letting the standard be the successes of other individuals. I would even challenge that if you have a role model, shoot to exceed what they have done in life to create your own legacy. Through self-discovery will come an understanding of what sets you apart as an individual, allowing you to speak your dreams into existence.

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27 Things To Do With Your Friends When You're Bored

A little bit of fun for any season.

I am sure many could relate: you are texting or sitting around with your friends and no one knows what they want to do, everyone is bored, and everyone is flat out of ideas that are actually realistic and achievable. Boredom makes an appearance at it's finest moments... always.

Here are 27 things you can do with your friend in just about any season (some are exclusive to a particular season) when boredom takes over!

1. Find a local coffee shop to try out.

2. Or better yet, find a local restaurant that you’ve all been wanting to try.

3. Go shopping at each others' favorite stores.

4. Tie balloons with positive messages inside of them to random places in your town to uplift a few souls.

5. Cook a homemade meal for a homeless person and deliver it.

6. Get crafty and create a time capsule that you and your friends can open after (x) amount of years.

7. Make your own sushi.

8. Plant flowers in little pots for your homes.

9. Road trip to random local cities and do some exploring.

10. Have a photo shoot.

11. Buy or create a blank page’s journal filled art, writing, sketches, and pictures of your friends that can be used as a memory book.

12. Visit a pumpkin patch.

13. Go stargazing in the middle of the night with a blanket and a few midnight snacks.

14. Go to a haunted house.

15. Go to a movie with the group.

16. Have a giant sleepover with board games, snacks, movies, and crazy pajamas.

17. Have a game night with the peeps.

18. Have a gingerbread making contest.

19. Have a bonfire when it gets cool outside.

20. Make homemade ice cream.

21. Search on maps for the nearest natural spring or river and go swimming or canoeing.

22. Take a camera, your group of friends, and stroll around town taking pictures of your adventure.

23. Use the pictures you take on your adventures and create a photo wall in your home.

24. Have a "Madea" movie night.

25. Throw a themed party.

26. Write letters of encouragement to children (or adults) in hospitals.

27. Look up random keywords on YouTube for possibly some of the best videos ever.

Cover Image Credit: aurimas_m / Flickr

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12 Ways To Save Money During The Summer When All You Want Is To Spend It

Saving is important year round, but it's most important in the summer


Over the summer, everyone normally has more free time than during the year, and that means more time to spend more money. Saving money over the summer is important, not only so you can be prepared to pay for things in the future, but also so you can enjoy your summer and no be stressed about how much money you've spent. Saving money is something that should happen year round, but it's especially important to do in the summer.

1. Create a budget

Starting the summer off on the right foot is super important to stay on track throughout the rest of the summer. A budget is something that you should have year round, but it's important to adjust it for your summer plans.

2. And stick to it

Not only do you have to make a budget, but you have to stick to it. If you don't follow your budget, you're wasting time and money, and it's hard to keep on top of finances.

3. Take advantage of student discounts

During the summer, college students find themselves with a lot more free time than in the school year. When you're planning what to do with your extra time, make sure to look if the place offers student discounts or not. Why pay full price when you don't have to?

4. Don't always go out to eat

College students tend to spend time with their friends going out for food or for drinks, and that adds up fast. If you have friends over to cook dinner, it can be healthier and cheaper to do.

5. Sublet

If you have an apartment you're not going to be staying in, or need to stay in Columbus, it's beneficial both ways to sublet. Neither way do you have to pay full price on an apartment, and any discount, no matter how small, saves you money

6. Take day trips

Obviously, no one wants to stay in one place the whole summer, but travel is super expensive. By going on day trips you get to see more of the state or city, but you don't have to pay for lodging overnight. It's a good way to get out without eating into your budget.

7. Walk around

Columbus has great parks and trails that not enough people think about using when they're planning what they want to do. If you walk around outside, you can spend as much time you want there and you don't have to pay anything.

8. Split costs with friend

Do both of you need a Hulu and a Netflix account? Why not share the costs and the passwords with each other, so that you both can save some extra cash in the future. This doesn't just have to be with streaming services, but it can apply to food and parking costs as well.

9. Don't impulsively buy big items

Maybe you've worked a ton recently to start saving for summer, or you have graduation money flowing in. You feel like it doesn't matter how much you spend, but it does. If you hold off on those purchases, and you save your money, you'll be in a better spot financially at the end of the summer.

10. Get a job

The obvious one. If you're doing an unpaid internship or your normal job isn't offering you many hours, then getting a second job where you can work to have a little more money can help you achieve your savings goal.

11. Don't be too hard on yourself

The hardest part of setting goals is when you don't achieve them. Even if you haven't saved exactly as much as you wanted, making even a small change can help your financial wellbeing and can be enough to make small changes in the future.

12. Don't force yourself to make big changes

Everyone's saving tips to Millennials are to stop getting coffee every single day from places like Starbucks. While cutting down on spending in these ways will greatly help you save money, it's not the only thing that will help. There's no reason to make yourself miserable in order to follow the rules of someone else for a small change financially.

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