But who are you running against? For most of your life, the person on the other treadmill is yourself.
Right now, the field might be crowded. Many people are ahead of you, and you can’t see who leads the pack. But once you start running faster than everyone else, you’ll soon be the only one left in the race.
- You’ll be the only one left in the study room at school at 7 AM.
- You’ll be the only one left who sends emails at 10 PM.
- You’ll be the only one left working, while your friends are out partying.
Very few people have an outstanding work ethic. That’s what makes them outstanding. But it also means it’ll get lonely.
You don’t want what your friends want. You want what you want. So you shouldn’t care about winning against them.
Your true competitor is also your greatest fan.
Look at Will Smith again. He could’ve long stopped running. There’s no one for him to beat any more. As of 2016, his movies have grossed $7.5 billion at the global box office.
Why does a guy like that turn around and go straight to making more films?
When people like Will Smith glance at the other treadmill, they see a different version of themselves. One that’s not as good, as generous, as humble, as disciplined, as honest or as dedicated as they are.
That’s who they’re running against. Running from. Before long, you’ll be running against yourself too. You’ll have to, in order to keep going.
When you get there, I hope you’ll do what Will Smith does: keep running anyway.