There are two types of winning. One way we can win is by beating somebody else. This is the most common, typified by sporting events, elections, and all sorts of contests. It is the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality, where we try to prove our worth by having more than somebody else. The other type of winning is getting what we want. Most of us are trying to win in the first sentence when we should really be focusing on winning in the latter. I remember when I was seven or eight playing soccer against the "Orange" team. Even though no score was officially kept, all the kids would do so. The first time we played the Orange team we beat them handily, but the second time we ended up tied. I had really wanted to win and in my frustration proclaimed "we sucked," to which a parent from the opposing side told me I had played great. Even at that early age I wanted to beat the other team more than I cared about my own performance. You can imagine how this habit would grow over the years and manifests itself later in life.

When you started learning about something that interested you, maybe a musical instrument, or web design, or knitting, did you immediately expect to be the best in the field? Of course not, for the difference in experience is staggering. While you probably aspired to reach a similar level as the best, it didn't make sense to demand it of yourself. The thing is, such comparisons never make sense, no matter how long you've been at something. No matter where you are the experiences that have led you there are completely unique to you. There are too many elements to human life to make such a comparison relevant. This game of comparing is one you can never win because there will always be somebody who has something that you don't.

It is much easier (and more fulfilling) to win by getting what you want. If you really want to go rock climbing it doesn't matter that there are already thousands of rock climbers. What matters is that you do the necessary training so you too can be a rock climber. If you want to become an expert stock trader does it make more sense to compare yourself to Warren Buffett or to measure your own financial progress? "Last year I made $50,000 and average 5% growth, this year I made $250,000 and averaged 12%." This type of comparison is much more meaningful because it shows how far you've come and how much you've accomplished. Someone else making a little bit more in no way diminishes what you've done for yourself, it is completely irrelevant. If you go out there and take care of your business and let other people take care of theirs then we can all win.