I used to pride myself on being the youngest in the room. The youngest athlete on the team, the youngest undergrad in the club, the youngest teaching assistant in the meeting. I scanned rooms, guessed ages, and congratulated myself on being ahead.
Then something happened.
My first daughter was born. Then the second. I went from driving the race car to joining pit row. Everyone else zoomed ahead. When someone’s worldview is racing this is quite the shock.
Then my peers had kids. At that point everything diverged.
Before kids, comparisons were easy and racing was the metaphor. We had times, grades, incomes and keeping a leaderboard was easy. After kids, I stopped seeing Races and started seeing Seasons and once you start thinking in Seasons it’s impossible to compare yourself.
Jason Fried says his cleaning lady is successful. Why? She’s happy to see Fried and his family, she’s happy about her work, and she’s happy with her means.
Success, said Fried, is doing something you’d do for many days in a row. Success is not a Race, it’s a Season. Metrics like fame or money are racing terms. Fried said that Jeff Bezos’s success, “is one that’s very very hard to achieve…most likely you won’t get there…the odds are stacked against you…and if you think that’s the only way you’re going to be miserable.”
Races are about competition. Seasons are about growth.