Today one of my players sent me an observation of himself. He has observed that there are more athletic players at his age than he is. They seem to have played basketball longer than him. Bare in mind that this is U16 player. Now, while it is good to observe yourself and know where you stand in the scheme of things, I think it is important not to look at other abilities in self-destructing way. You can’t beat the others. There always will be someone more athletic, faster, bigger, better, smaller (also this counts!), stronger, more experienced, more intelligent.

One side

Now, if we acknowledge that there will always be someone better we can start to do what we have to do – work with oneself. You can’t beat the other person if you don’t beat yourself first. This is the practice of the greats, this is what all the great guys has done and that is the reason why they were the best. The only competition for them was themselves. That’s right. Only person you have to compete in the quest of life is yourself. Not your brother, not your sister, not your mama, not your dada, not your annoying, perfect cousin Jess (no offense to Jess), not your best friend, not that random athletic guy at the opposing team. No, not them – you, you have to compete with yourself.

This is the secret. This is all there is – be better today than you were yesterday. One-half a second faster, one push-up better, know one word more, read one more page. Even if it is a little bit – be better. Learn something new, train a bit more, help someone you know, help someone you don’t know. Be a better version of yourself. Others doesn’t matter. Your action does. Your attitude and your work.

The other side

My daughter is at the point where she is slowly learning to crawl. If you are a parent or oldest sibling in family, you will know that every kid does it at his own time. Of course we can do some things that help them to get hang of it faster, but still – every kid does it at a different time. Now, this observation brings me back to the idea what I read in one of the Zen stories. Nature has it’s own pace. You can’t really ask a tree when it will be grown. The same kind of tree will grow differently, or by moving it over continents – it might not grow at all. That is the nature of a tree. Of a living being. Also – it can be observed between other kinds of plants and also we humans have natural pace build into us. Kids start to roll, crawl or walk whenever they are ready and able to carry out this action.

“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function on of what the whole ocean is doing.” /Alan Watts

There is this thought of Alan Watts that we are “it”. There is no point in seeking around us (outside of ourselves), we have to seek within and the more you look, the more you understand that there is nothing in, because you are “it”. You are the Cosmos itself. Everything else is in relation to you and you are in relation to everything else. You are your mind and that is everything else. So, there is no point in looking at others and saying they are better or worse than you are. The only place to look and improve is yourself. That is why improving yourself you will also improve everything around you. This is one of the Universal Laws of Life. Pace of Nature itself.

Valts R.