Life Is Not A Race
August 10, 2020
I remember an incident from my childhood. One early morning, I rode a bicycle from my house to my friend’s place, which was about 5 km away. As I was riding my cycle, I noticed another cyclist ahead of me, maybe about 500 meters ahead. Something was striking about that cyclist. He seemed my age. He had a languid style of riding the bicycle, and he was cycling very fast. I had this sudden urge to race and overtake him.
I started pushing myself, riding harder and faster. Slowly but steadily, I started catching up with the other biker. But it was not very easy. For all the effort I was putting, the other cyclist was seemingly at ease-riding fast naturally. I started biking even harder, willing and pushing myself to overtake him. The gap slowly whittled-500 meters became 300 meters. 300 hundred became 100 meters. 100 meters became 20 meters, and I found myself level with the other biker side by side. By now, I was quite exhausted, and I had to give myself one last push to overtake him definitively.
As I started pulling away ahead, I turned to look the other biker in triumph. But, he was not even aware of my desire to overtake him. He was cycling at his own pace without breaking a sweat while I was pushing myself to beat him. I looked at my “fictional competitor” in the eye, smiled, and rode ahead, feeling a sense of empty victory.
Suddenly, I realized something to my dismay. In my excitement to beat the other biker, I forgot that I had to take a right turn to get to my friend’s place almost a half a kilometer back. Having missed the corner, I had to retrace my way back to get to my friend’s place.
Looking back, I realize the other biker was not my competition. I somehow imagined him to be a competitor to beat, overtake, and in the bargain, I forgot the route I had to take for myself.
Our life is not a race where we have to compete and overtake someone all the time. It is about having a clear destination (life purpose, life goals) and trying to get to that destination in the best possible manner.
Unfortunately, however, we somehow make everything into some race. Someone has a better job, a bigger house, a more lavish lifestyle, a loving family, etc., and we want to be ahead. We feel our achievement is in having something similar or better for ourselves.
This outlook is a dead-end.
Take a pause and ask yourself- ” In trying to compete with the world, have I lost track of my RIGHT TURN?”. Have you lost track of your journey and gone in a direction you never wanted to be in?
Each of us has a journey of life with a unique destination. What is the destination you want to get to, and how you want to get there is your choice to make. You want to walk it, bike it, take a car, take an airplane- these are all means. Your destination is what matters, and your achievement is in reaching the destination safely.
Don’t race with life. Take pauses, have fun taking the journey. You will encounter breakdowns and accidents on the way. They are all part of the fun of having a memorable journey. In this journey, there is no real space for competition with others. If anything, compete with yourself. Keep moving forward towards your destination, being at a better place today than where you were yesterday.
Life is a not a race against others. You have your own journey with your own destination to go after.