Be competitive.

Get your head in the game.

Grit and resilience.

This was something I never really understood or got the grasp of until I came to college. I was never a super competitive sports player, whether it be soccer, hockey or running. I simply never had that innate drive to want to crush my opponent. I still played well, but not with the same edge of more elite player’s my age.

Then I went to college and started my program.

Two weeks in, one of the profs made a comment that really put things in perspective for me.

“All sixty of you, are some of the most advanced and highly skilled young designer’s we could have picked.” In other words, our portfolios were all ‘so good’ at the very beginning that we beat out everyone else who applied.

Supposedly, there were close to eight hundred applicants for my program in 2016 when I applied.

Eight hundred, and we started the year off with sixty-four students.

Now we’re down to thirty-four.

Knowing that I was one of those first few who was picked out of such a large pool of people, was quite the humbling experience, but it was quick to wear off once I saw how I ranked amongst my peers and the quantifiable level of skill that I possessed.

I didn’t want to be sitting in the middle of the pack because who remembered those people? No one. Even if I was in the bottom, the lower five percent, at least then that’s something memorable. Simply for the wrong intention.

Over the next year and a half, I began to subconsciously develop a competitive edge and a consistent work ethic, drilled into me from profs and classmates alike. It was halfway through the first semester of my third year when I had this sudden realization about what I had seen over the last two and a half years, some from my own friends.

People would act small, down playing their skills and abilities so that others wouldn’t feel disappointed or inferior around them.

So, I thought to myself, that’s a little odd, isn’t it?

Think to yourself, should someone shrink down and play the pity card to someone else whose skills are not yet up to par with what they are able to produce. Just because they’re not on the same skill level as you, you try and step down to their level, just so they don’t feel bad about themselves. Then I began to realize that there had been instances where I had done the same thing.

Well, shit.

Now I was a hypocrite.

That’s not how you do things is it?

There’s nothing inspiring or pleasant about shrinking down so that others won’t feel disappointed when they’re around you. Maybe it’s not even feeling disappointed, maybe it’s so that they won’t feel bad that they didn’t put as much time into that part of the project? They didn’t put dedication and effort into their part and now, with their work sitting next to yours they realize how they screwed themselves.

Do you bow down to the slacker or should the slacker be looking to you as a motivation/inspiration?

That’s up too you to decide. I can’t make decisions for you.

You are your own person, your own boss in a way. You need to learn to rock your own shit and not let anyone else dictate that. Don’t let someone else’s insecurity about themselves negatively influence how you act and perform. The only reason you come off as cocky or self-centered in these situations is mainly because of everyone else’s insecurity about their own talents. It’s not always your fault.

Afterall, playing the pity card is never an admirable move.

This doesn’t mean being an asshole about it though, that’s even worse. Being the person who can DREAM BIG, PLAY BIG and help others with their abilities quickly becomes the biggest person in the room.

You need to learn to DREAM BIG and PLAY BIG. That’s where the difference lies. This is what separates you from everyone else. The wolf from the wolfpack, the wave in the ocean. Dreaming big and playing big separates the bestest from the best.

At the end of the day, don’t settle for anything less than what you are capable of.

This is the most important part, because if you do settle…

You won’t get very far.


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