Most of our perspectives about life are strongly rooted to the conditioning by society. One such perspective is that life is a race, a mad rat race, with the winner being judged as the best. Wherever we turn, situations seem to tell us that it is indeed a race, coming in different hues and colours. Science says it through Darwin’s ‘Survival of the fittest theory’. History tells about all the wars that we fought for supremacy and power. Even in sports, all the matches’ ends with a winner.
It is no wonder that the whole of life time seems like a big competition, considering that the germination of life in itself begins with the triumph of a spermatozoon which beats all other sperm cells to fertilise the ovum. As we grow up, the struggle to outperform others builds momentum through our education system centred on performance in examinations and assignments, and continues through the mad chase to get a job. Next on line is the marriage championship with the ultimate quest to find the most eligible spouse in the world. The cycle takes a full circle, as the competitive genes pass downs to another generation. The battle goes on and on.
Perhaps it could be the sheer need to prove ourselves that we tend to consider everything that we do is yet another conquest in life. Heroes in movies say “I feel like the king of the world”, advertisements offer “Paradises on earth” and we are often caught by the bait of “Living life king size”. Sometimes, it makes me think whether we all are really happy because we achieved something or we want to prove that we are capable of achieving in front of the world. Sometimes, we have just posted about our recent success in Facebook and is waiting for comments to flow in, there comes a pop up that our friend (in this case, a competitor in the race) has achieved something better. Thereafter no matter how many comments congratulating you come, we forget our current achievement and go in pursuit of another one. It may be because success is mostly defined in terms of comparisons with the success of similar people in similar circle. We are obsessed with being the best of all, and easy measure for it, have always been benchmarking against our peers, instead of our own satisfaction.
For the firm believers of “life is a race” concept, I would like to see it in a different light. In my perspective, we should see life as a “marathon”, rather than a rat race. Life is all about performing consistently, finding our own personal best, benchmarking our past achievements and striving to outperform ourselves. Much like in a marathon, it would require us to run at a steady pace, rather than get burnt out at the end of a rat race. We all are winners, if we can discover our unique best, nurture it and in the process enjoying every moment of it.