I have always been a competitive person. I think every fiber in my being is built to fulfill the need to win. I think the mentality that I've developed since my school-age years, was a "sink or swim" one. Where if I didn't learn how to pull my own weight, then I'd get left behind, and I'd get left behind quickly. That's why when it came down to it, I always felt like I had something to prove. I never have been the one to back down from a challenge, and I've never been the one to turn in half ass work. I've always believed that if you're going to do something, then do it to the best of your abilities. Hence the emphasis on the 'your abilities' part.
It wasn't until I reached my senior year in high school where I stopped trying to compete with everyone. Everyone was out getting scholarships and getting college acceptance letters - and there I was, still lost and confused on what to do with my life. Just to catch everyone up - I took a six month break after high school trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I was accepted to colleges of course, but I was still very unsure whether I wanted to go to them or not. There was something about living in Michigan that scared me because I didn't think Asians existed in Michigan, because what kind of Filipino would I be if I wanted to live knee deep in snow all of the time? Of course there was San Diego and Hawai'i, but would I really focus on school if I decided to go there? What about cost of living? How would that have been? I was afraid to leave my safety net, but I was still yearning to spread my wings.
So month after month as I watched my newly graduated high school classmates start their first day of college and the photos of them settling into their dorms, I was at home, still figuring my life out. That's when I decided that I wanted to try and take up what career my brother had set down - so I attended culinary arts school at the Art Institute of Seattle. Obviously I could go on with the details of how I went from learning how to properly tourne a potato to have seven sides to injecting high risk drugs into people, but that's an entirely different story from where I was wanting to go.
So back tracking to where I first started on the "your abilities" part and doing things at your pace. I meet a lot of people, especially in my career field, who are very competitive with each other with work and school, and even in their personal lives. When I scroll through Facebook, I always have to chuckle at the memes that say, "all my friends getting married, having babies, or buying house... and I'm over here like." (Enjoy the few I've selected below, heh). But anyways - who cares about what all of your friends are doing?! Life isn't a competition, and I've never understood the whole, "I'm going to get a car better than them all" or "my house is going to be bigger than everyone else's house - even though I only have four people in my family - I need the 7 rooms for activities!" You guys laugh, but it's true. People really do go out and try to one up each other in life.
So you're out here competing with everyone else even though life isn't a competition, and you end up losing focus on yourself. You can't see that your progression is actually hindered by the fact that you've become obsessed with everyone else's progression. How much more do you think you could progress if you just put on temporary blinders to focus on yourself? JUST yourself. I'm not saying to be the shark that everyone is afraid of where you don't help others out or don't reach out for help yourself. But life is better if you make it a team effort. Don't make it where you focus on your progression and throw people under the bus to get to the top. I'm not saying to do that! (LOL no one like that person btw). Focus on your progression - while helping others grow to, and in return, they'll help you grow.
And don't compete with them. You don't have to get married because all of your friends are married. Maybe you have another goal (like extra schooling to further your career). Maybe your goal is to travel the world, and that's difficult if you start a family. And I'm not saying that you can't do all of these things at once. Of course in my case, I want to be the best nurse I can be along with being the best wife I can be, and in the future, be the best mom I can be. But I don't want to rush myself because all of my other friends are having their first or second kid. Because I know I'm most likely not ready for that. Your priorities don't have to be the same as everyone else's. Life gets hard when you start trying to do too much at once. Take on what you can handle, gradually build yourself up.
P.S. I still have to remind myself about this every day - I'm definitely not perfect at this. I have days where I feel like I'm so far behind a lot of my friends because I switched colleges and whatnot... But when I look at my life, I'm doing really well. I have a great military career, and I have the most wonderful husband a woman could ask for. Next stop for me? BABIES. hehehe.