It's about the process, not the prize
This morning, I watched the YouTube video below about Amelia Boone this morning, an endurance athlete and ultra marathoner. She's one of those crazy types, who take pleasure in the pain of attempting to run 100 miles (that'd be about 161kms) in a single go. The video told the story of Boone's transformation from someone, who's identity was heavily bound to winning and success in racing and professional life (as a lawyer), to a person, who was simply appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the process of getting better each day.
The trigger was a an stress fracture in her thigh bone (the femur). Being someone so used to being on the podium, the injury and not being able to race for a time caused her to seemingly lose her identity and reassess. She concluded that if she has a choice of just training everyday and never race, or race from time to time and never train, whe would hundred and ten percent choose the former. When she did finally return to racing, just being out there, participating in the process of improving, became a privilege, giving her the joy she never previously experienced. Running a race doesn't necessarily make you a runner, but fronting up each day to train does. It's all about the process.
While it's almost impossible to look sidewise at how the next person to you is doing compared to you, conciousness of the associated dangers of doing this goes a long way towards refocussing on the process and maintaining peace of mind. When we link our identity to things (or in Boone's case events or moments) rather than who we are, we are always at risk of crisis and in a constant state of anxiety, because events are fleeting and possessions can (and often will) be taken away from us. The best-selling author an entreprenuer Jim Rohn's following statement I think encapsulates the essence of what this post is trying to convey.
"If you want to have more, you have to become more. Success is not something you pursue. What you pursue will elude you; it can be like trying to chase butterflies. Success is something you attract by the person you become."
Enjoy the process!