“People depend on one another. When one does well, others are lifted. When one stumbles, others also are impacted.” —Jon Huntsman, Sr.
Recently, I ran my first marathon. Going in, the endeavor was about realizing a dream and proving to myself that I could do it. However, along the way, I experienced countless other benefits. I got into shape (just in time for summer), I made new friends, I enjoyed hours of quiet reflection on my life, and I learned some valuable lessons about life. In short, it became a true life-changing experience.
Of all the life-changing lessons I learned, perhaps the most significant was the importance of competing less and encouraging more. Marathon runners are notorious for offering encouragement to one another. They understand an important race principle: there is room at the finish line for all of us.
It isn’t all about winning or losing, it’s about the experience and being in it together. As a result, the entire 26.2 mile race was filled with encouragement from bystanders and competitors completely committed to helping the other racers finish strong.
Those of us seeking simplicity can learn a lot from marathon runners. Admittedly, I have spent most of my years on earth competing against others rather than encouraging them in the journey. It was so important for me to succeed that I often tore others down rather than building them up. Looking back, I owe them all an apology. I wish I had competed less and encouraged more.
I have come to realize that the mindset of competition is based on a faulty premise. It assumes there is a finite sized pie – that one more success in another’s life equals one less success in mine. But quite frankly, this thinking is incorrect. The size of the pie is not finite.
In reality, the pie keeps growing. Another’s success does not mean I have less shot at it. In fact, another’s success can actually be my success if I had an opportunity to encourage and promote them along the way!
This is a life-changing revelation and important key to experiencing simplicity in life.
To put this into practice, try some of these practical, mind-set changing ideas to encourage others:
- Refuse to speak negatively of other people (publically or privately).
- Send consumers to other competing businesses if they can better meet their individual needs.
- Use cards, telephone calls, and emails to offer encouragement to those around you.
- Publicly promote other people’s success stories.
- Ask how you can come alongside to help.
- Share your ideas with others. The free-flow of information will always come back around to you.
- Attend local, community events and promote a “teammate mentality.”
This world has always been big enough for all of us. I just wish it hadn’t taken a 4½ hour run for me to figure that out.