“If you get yourself too engrossed in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you do have control.” –John Wooden
I don't read self-help books. I have a firm belief that there is no recipe for life. One thing that works for someone doesn't necessarily work for another. I find self-help books preachy - and really, who are these people who think their life is "successful" and "amazing" and "perfect"? Well, up yours.
I chanced upon John Wooden [a well-respected UCLA basketball coach] advice above and found it peculiar. He is, after all, a basketball coach. He goes on to explain:
"Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others, and never cease trying to be the best you can be because that’s under your control. And if you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to things over which you have no control, it will adversity affect the things over which you have control."
His quote may not be Murakami material, it may not be Shakespeare, but it's succinct. It's a paradox, but when you choose to compete with yourself and not others, you will place the responsibility of your success on your shoulders, you will work doubly hard [just so you can say, 'Screw you, last week's me!'] to lead to the amazing contentment that comes with fulfilling your goals.
How you run your race - your planning, preparation, practice, and performance - counts for everything. Winning or losing is a by-product, and aftereffect, of that effort.
Do all things necessary to bring forth your personal best and don't lose sleep worrying about the competition.
And remember, when you give unsurpassed effort and dedication - everything you have - the score can never make you a loser. And when you do less, it can't somehow magically turn you into a winner.
Forget competing with others. Challenge yourself, compete with yourself. Have integrity, adapt, be honest, be reliable, and fight. Success, in whatever way you believe it to be, will come.