How to Do Better

by Brian Brittain on February 14, 2020


I am highly competitive by nature. I have come to realize that this is both a good thing and a bad thing for me. It depends on what is motivating me to compete, and then how I do it. Sometimes competition helps me get better at what I do, and how I contribute in the world, and then sometimes it gets in my way and alienates me from others. There is the right time and right person to compete with. The right person to compete with is me, and the right timing is to get better than what I was before.

Two key influencers for me in this have been Jordan Peterson, the clinical psychologist and the other being Maya Angelou, the poet and civil rights activist.

Jordan Peterson said, “Compete against who you were yesterday, not against someone else today.”

I find when I do the former, compete against me, then it is measuring apples with apples. On either day there is the same level of innate talent, and my job is to fine tune the application of that innate talent by trying to always operate at my best. Here I am motivated by constantly trying to be the best version of myself. Showing up, giving it 100%.

Often when I am competing against someone else I realize my motives are often about status, insecurity, and power.

Maya Angelou has said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

I find when I follow Maya’s guideline, and combine it with Jordan’s guideline I attempt to show up better today than I did yesterday, based on what I know about me today. As I learn from and watch others, I realize that I can be better than I was and what I thought, so I try harder and bring in my new learnings, based on reading and role models, and apply my crafts better than before. I can do all this without focusing on trying to beat anybody else.

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