“The time your game is most vulnerable is when you’re ahead. Never let up.”
― Rod Laver, Adidas
When I was a kid, I played basketball with a boy who was taller than every other kid in the league. I’ll call him Aaron. With his obvious advantage, he dominated on the court. Well, at least that’s how the season started.
As the season progressed, the story changed. Other kids improved their game, but Aaron seemed to stagnate. He was being out rebounded by kids much shorter than him. His shots were being blocked by boys who only came up to his chin.
It was easy to see what was happening. Aaron hadn’t been challenged at the beginning of the season. He didn’t need to work hard to win. But over time, the other kids worked hard and developed their skills up to and beyond his level. Aaron was still the tallest guy out there, but that advantage on its own wasn’t enough.
To stay competitive, Aaron needed to work on his skill set and put in a lot more effort. Relying solely on his height was insufficient.
Aaron’s story is a fitting analogy for life. If we play down to lesser competition, we’ll stagnate just like Aaron did on the basketball court. It’s not about our advantages or disadvantages. It’s about putting in the effort necessary for continuous improvement.
We have to challenge ourselves and surround ourselves with people who push us to be better. We need to learn, adapt, and constantly expand our skillset. Upgrade your competition, and you’ll upgrade yourself.