Most of us have a fascination with speed.
We love watching the insanely fast Usain Bolt break world records. We admire young business minds that quickly rise to the top of the Forbes list. We worship pop singers and their music releases that skyrocket up the charts. And our jaws drop in awe over the latest sports cars as they whiz by us.
Our society loves to go fast. We love to be first.
Is being first a bad thing? Not necessarily, but let’s call out the one glaring issue in the above scenarios. None of those things matter.
Records, money, business rankings, fame – it all disappears. You will always be outdone. Everything in life feels so competitive; we all want to keep up with The Joneses. Life has become a rat race.
I believe that old adage is true, ‘better things come to those who wait.”
There is no doubt that being first is admirable in certain aspects of life, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best thing for us.
What is our purpose in life? I believe it is to do good, love people, honor God, and make it to heaven. Do any of those require speed? No. I have yet to find a passage in the bible that says heaven will reach capacity and everyone else is out of luck. 1 Corinthians 13:4 begins by saying “love is patient”; it doesn’t say love is speeding to the finish line.
If life is a race, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And the winners of the race aren’t selected by how quickly they cross the finish line, but rather, the integrity in which they completed the race. An example of this is Bernie Madoff. He made hundreds of millions of dollars; he was seemingly winning the race, so to speak, only to be disqualified. Now he will spend the rest of his life in jail, while those with far less assets enjoy their freedom.
MY ADVICE: Don’t worry about others. Keep running your race.
If people seem like they’re further ahead then you, keep running your race. You never know where their “finish line” actually is. Most of the people that you try and compare yourself with aren’t even running in the same race as you. It’s better to move forward and slowly, than to move quickly in an array of directions.
If you feel the need to win in your race, at least race towards things that matter. Run to tell someone you love him or her. Sprint to put good in the world. Be in a hurry to put smiles on people’s faces. Win in things that matter and things that last. But always remember to enjoy the journey of life, not the speed. If you can’t shake the need to win or the belief that life is a race, then remember the methodic turtle beats the erratic rabbit. The earliest bird gets the worm, but that same bird becomes dinner for the hunter who was patient and waited for it.