Being An Achiever Meant Accepting My Shortcomings

I know myself to be the type who aggressively competes. I aggressively compete with experts, especially those who don’t know me. I frequently catch myself saying “hey, I can do this too” after looking at a piece of work. It is usually an enchanting illustration, a great piece of writing, a fashion style so effortlessly modeled, or a brilliantly done presentation. This approach to life has helped me kickstart so many self-improvement projects. I taught myself how to use new software, I picked up on writing and illustrating more often, and I challenged myself to push the status quo of how I did things in my job.

All of this sounds fair and dandy; it sounds excellent in fact, comparing yourself to experts and using that challenge to learn things and become better. Sure, sometimes it has swept me off my hesitant feet in a whirl of doubt when I would realize how daunting the process of mastering an art is. I overcame this by taking things slow, and occasionally shifting to a learning something new which made me feel like I achieved something, because the very first steps of the process have a higher learning curve. Little ego boosts, nothing more.
But what I recently found myself practicing is a new type of competition, a more bitter type, a type that brought negativity for those around, specifically those who were trying to help me. See, I was once discussing work with a friend who took it upon himself to help me perfect a presentation I had started working on. My early reaction to his wish to assist me was all-so-encouragingly positive and I couldn’t wait for us to start, until the day came when we started working on it, and I found myself turning into the Grinch, bitterly defending every word I had put into the document every time he suggested an edit. I instantly reckoned that I hated the fact that he was better at me in what we were doing, because it implied that I was bad at it. It implied a deficiency. It implied all what I thought of myself was faulty. I had been filling my mind with so much confidence that I turned it into hateful ego. Ego that’s so easily scarred, for no reason whatsoever.

It took some time for me to shrug off the negativity and embrace the selflessness this person was radiating my way. I had to keep my eyes on the big picture, just the way I do when I choose to challenge myself. You see, the difference between the two types of challenges I experience lies in the fact that the first one I had chosen to pursue on my own, and the other included getting help from an external source, a non-expert, a regular human being – someone just like me.

To stop this bitterness and defensiveness from resurfacing again, I needed to see the beauty in this, the beauty in selflessness, the beauty of having a friend who’s also an achiever and who mastered his own set of skills, the beauty in constantly learning, the beauty in getting help on a silver plate….

Being an achiever means being hard on yourself and pushing your boundaries. It means opening up to change and being receptive, embracing what the world throws at you whole heartedly and without prejudice. Being an achiever means turning things around and finding opportunity in every learning experience. And here I am writing about this. Here I am turning things around. Here I am apologizing for the bitterness.

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