I’m not a competitive person. I learned that it is not good to compare self with other person. We must believe that each human is born unique. Not winning doesn’t mean one is not unique.
Being brought up by a system where each student is given a number to signify their achievements in class, it is hard for me to adapt myself to non-competitiveness, though. Sometimes, I get jealous seeing my friends driving new cars, feel inferior when someone buys new house and feel down when comparing my achievements in career to my friends’. It takes a long time for me to brush away those unhappy thoughts from my mind every time they occur.
Nevertheless, I keep my vibe high by doing a simple thing – I write or keep a memento every time I break a personal record. The idea is to make me remember every good feeling that comes with those personal achievement, the happy thought that comes every time I break a mental barrier.
The latest personal record that I manage to break is hiking a two-hour track with bare feet. For me, it took three solid hours. It is because I’m not used to walking barefooted and the track is steep and littered with gravels on the way down.
This record-break was unintentional. I was involved in a training program as a facilitator. The day they went hiking was supposed to be my final day, which means I was supposed to went home, not joining them. That was why I don’t bring my sneakers. But the thought of staying alone at the camp while they were having fun up there did not make me happy at all, so I decided to join.
Far from halfway along the journey, I actually nearly gave up. But to go back is not a choice at all. We’ve went so far up and going back alone is worse. So I continued on. The way down is the worst. While they all slide down easily and ran on the gravel-littered track, I need to walk very slowly so I won’t hurt my feet.
The track ended at sea shore. The sound of sea waves bring indescribably extreme relief to my heart. Almost equivalent to hearing Maghrib prayer call on my first day of fasting when I was a child. And the drink and meal that we had afterwards felt like the best I ever had in months.
My feet ached for a week or so. But the satisfaction is phenomenal.
To be grateful and happy of life, we must experience the extreme.
This is the only way – by losing them – to realize that every single thing we have now is so precious. This is the feeling that I want to keep in my personal record. It may not be special, but in my book, it IS special.