Competition is what’s said to be one of the leading factors in the growth of human development, the drive we have between each other to be the best. This power can take shape in a variety of forms from the extremely beneficial motivator, to the most crushing force of despair. I myself find this force to start manifesting as the ladder, with the mental superiority of my peers slowly starting to wear me down. Every day so much work is put into becoming the best in what I do, but lately it seems as I’ve been busting my balls for naught, as if it’s suddenly become the impossible to even begin to reach any of my peers. To accomplish the impossible, I work as if any false step will keep me from over-reaching. The thing is, whatever I do I always look up and find someone better. “Well there’s always someone better than you” is what you might hear in response, but I’m not talking about someone, I’m talking about a group of people that may forever keep me from breaking into even the top 10 percentile. It starts to seem that regardless of how many hours of math I spend studying or how many things I try to learn about the latest cutting edge technology I’m always behind. Something about these computer science and math students demands the attention to be turned to the great disparity between their skill levels and — well, mine. Deep down I create excuses, explanations for this seemingly unexplainable gap in academic intellect. “Well, they probably had engineering parents they could rely on for extra help early on,” or “They only seem like they’re better because they work harder.” In reality, I know the truth. Some people are just naturally better at things. That’s not to say that environment and work ethic don’t play a role, but I believe inherent skill in one person can easily trump someone else’s hard work. I’ll get into that in another blog post further down the line, but there’s also another truth that seems to surface. A more personal one.
It’s uncomfortable to believe I’m this far behind, and keeping this excuse-based mentality buries the thought that I can in fact also reach my dreams with enough hard work. Why bury this seemingly beneficial ambition? Because the fear of crushed hope is a fear bigger than the others. Most of the time hope motivates us for the now and helps keep us going, but is it worth it at all when the fragility of our aspirations can so often lead us into despair? They say ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,’ but is it really though? Even after deep contemplation, the answer to that question still eludes me. Still though, I refuse to believe that there’s nothing for me to do to reach that level. Even with the constant doubt of success and the gnawing feeling of failure, there’s an occasional compulsion to strive to be the best. Whether I’ll ever reach my goal is the true mystery.