In one of Shaq’s books, he talks about a teammate he had named Stanley Roberts. Stanley had been Shaq’s college teammate at LSU and had even played for a while in the NBA. Shaq described Stanley as a really nice guy off the court, but other than that, Stanley was happy with just being OK.
There’s a story of Stanley’s LA Clippers falling short of the Chicago Bulls in a 1990s NBA game. Stanley had had an incredible night, nearly carrying his club past Chicago by himself. After the game, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen hunted Stanley down in the tunnel leading to the locker rooms and got in his face:
“Do you know how rich and famous you would be if you played like that every night?!”
Most people are Stanley Roberts: OK with just being OK.
Raise your standards for yourself — competition and other people don’t matter — and you’ll find yourself amongst the very few for whom OK, isn’t OK.
We all have our days and moments when we push ourselves past the mediocre, getting into a mental lather that inspires us and we get the type of energy that would dominate the world if we could bottle it up. If you think hard enough, I’m sure you can remember the last time you did. Maybe it was yesterday. Last month? Last year?
No solution has been found to bottle that energy up yet, but when you do have it, your standards go up. There is no competition because you are competing only against yourself. What you can do, is make this constant practice: Think about that mindset and that energy and remind yourself to have it. The more you do so, the less competition you’ll see.