Keep Your Eyes On The Prize!

The other day, I was doing some research on the internet in an
effort to promote my website and new book. As I did so, I was
momentarily overwhelmed by the sheer number of similar websites
out there, many of them excellent, and offering an immense
variety of products and services. I caught myself feeling a bit
discouraged, and thinking what a long way it was to the top of
this particular mountain.

This feeling lasted only for a little while. I soon recalled all
the testimonials that my ezine, course and book readers have sent
me, telling me how much my work has encouraged and benefited
them. I realized that it is not the quantity of people helped
that matters so much, but rather the quality of that help to any
individual person.

Yet, that temporary feeling of discouragement led me to think
about how often people can short-circuit themselves through
looking at the competition, rather than keeping their eyes on the
prize. If you habitually focus on the difficulties inherent in
any goal, then you set yourself up for discouragement and

Many people never commence with their dream project because they
look at how much competition there already is out there, and they
become discouraged. After all, look at what a head start these
others have, how advanced they are, and so on.

Yet, the people who become excellent at their chosen profession
are usually heavily self-referential. In other words, their
standard for how well they are doing is set by themselves to
begin with, and they are the ones who constantly measure their
progress against this pre-defined standard. They either stand or
fall according to whether they have lived up to their own high
standards. They are not constantly looking around to see what
others think of them.

Keeping your eyes on the competition can be a
confidence-destroying exercise. Imagine if the young Tiger Woods
had spent his time as a child thinking about how many golfers
there were out there, how excellent many of the were (and still
are), and how tough the road to the top would be in such an
arena of fierce competition. Well, he never would have started,
would he? If Muhammad Ali had started saying “Well, I’m NOT the
Greatest. There are plenty of others better, so perhaps I
shouldn’t try so hard”, would he have got anywhere at all?

You should not expect too much of yourself at the start of any
major new endeavor. Treat yourself gently, whilst at the same
time setting yourself high long-term objectives. This means that
whilst you may, for example, set yourself the goal of becoming a
published author, you should not expect your initial efforts to
be anything like excellent. That should not discourage you from
making those efforts, and continuing to make them day in and day
out, however bad they may initially be. In order to do something
excellently, you must be willing to do it badly at first.

It also helps to remember that talent alone does not go all the
way. Many of the highest achievers in every field of endeavor
were not actually the most talented. At least one gold medal
Olympic athlete is on record as saying that back at high school,
there were others athletes with far more talent than himself. The
only difference is that he kept at it, and they did not. It is a
lesson worth remembering when you face your own personal goals.

In a very real sense, you are only ever competing against
yourself. As you develop to be absolutely excellent, you
naturally surpass the competition and reach ever higher towards
the peak, where few dare venture. Lack of talent will not stop
you. It’s only your own lack of self-belief and persistence that

When you look at competition, you are perceiving others to be
better than yourself. This may or may not be true. Appearance are
subjective. Moreover, even if it is true, it is not a static
situation. You can change it any time you wish. Hence, other
people in the field should only ever be used as a measure of your
progress, and not as a source of frustration and discouragement.

In conclusion, try not to be discouraged by the forces waged
against you. Your contribution is always valuable, even if you
never achieve pre-eminence in the field of your choice. It is a
misuse of your energy to look at the sheer volume of people in
your chosen area, and ask yourself what good you would be, or why
anybody would need or want your contribution. If that sort of
thinking were applied to bread, nobody would ever open a new
bakery again! Remember that next time you feel overwhelmed by the

Copyright Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.

About Asoka Selvarajah

Dr. Asoka Selvarajah is a writer and teacher of personal growth and spirituality, and the author of numerous books and courses. His work helps people achieve their full potential, deepen their understanding of mystical truth, and discover their soul’s purpose.Subscribe to the Aspire To Wisdom list to receive more articles and resources to your inbox.

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One comment

  1. This is exactly how I have felt sometimes when thinking about the true love of my heart – spirit work – helping others discover their hearts desires and have a true and real relationship with Spirit. After all – there are so many other very excellent teachers out there – what could I possibly have to add that would make any difference to anyone? Yet, every person is different and we all learn different things from different people at different times. Perhaps there is something I can do that will reach someone and give them hope and help them keep reaching for their dreams. If I let my dreams die because I am afraid of the competition, then am I denying someone else – even that ONE – of achieving their dreams because I might be able to give them hope – a spark to keep going? No matter how many times we hear a message – there are days and times in our lives that we can hear it in a totally different way – a new way – a clearer way. Just think if every person we came into contact with every day had a mission to express Divine Love back to us. Would we want any one of them to deny that ability within themselves? Would we want to deny ourselves that ability?
    Thanks, Asoka, for the reassuring word!

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