Being happy for others is hard. It’s how we gets books with titles like: I’m Happy For You (Sort Of… Not Really). Recently, I got second place at a tournament for my speech. My grandparents called and after being told what I’d won, congratulated me. I assured them that I planned to do better next time. Grandpa reminded me that there wasn’t much better I could do.
Let’s just say I’ve had a great opportunity to put this into practice, using the following three principles.
1. Remember You’re On the Same Team
Even before tournament places were announced, I was reminding myself of this as I chatted with my fellow competitors and asked what their speeches were about. My knee-jerk instinct was to analyze their topic, assessing whether or not they had what it took to beat me. (Ha… I get a bit competitive at times.) I had to remind myself that we were all simply honing each other and displaying a different facet of the same truth. A girl spoke on smiling to make the world a better place. A boy talked about not being legalistic with political correctness, but not dismissing it either. He said we should use it to be mindful of other people and to speak to them with love.
Like I said: different facets of the same truth.
Maybe you find that you’re comparing yourself to other girls during prom, ranking their beauty, judging their dresses. After I spend a long time getting dolled up, I definitely have this tendency. Just remember: you have nothing to scorn and nothing to be jealous of. After all, your beauty comes from the same source. Or if you’re competing in a sport, your talent comes from the same source. In the end, you’re on the same team, because you, along with your potential competitors, are simply displaying the beauty and talent God has given you. And especially if you’re surrounded by Christians, then it’s all for God’s glory anyhow.
2. God Has a Plan
Remember that scenario I keep referring to where I did everything I could to win senator, won governor two years later, etc? After losing senator, I was sure God had a reason for that. Maybe some other kid needed the position more than I did. And now, I’m figuring that the guy who got first place probably needed it more than I did. No idea why, but I’m sure God has His reasons. You’re not facing these circumstances by accident. God has given you a wonderful opportunity to learn a lesson He’s tailor-made this situation not only for you, but also those around you. Maybe He’s entrusting you with a high rank to see if you can still remember Him and give Him the glory. Maybe He’s entrusting with you a low rank to teach you humility or perseverance. Try to find the purpose in your circumstances. Even if you can’t see it, trust that there is one.
3. Success is Contagious
This is a very good, very selfish reason to be enthralled when anyone around you succeeds. If they succeed, even if you fail, it means that they’re smart, talented, or persistent. If you want success in your life, you want to be around successful people–you certainly don’t want to drive them away with your jealousy. So surround yourself with success and cheer others on.
Want to hear a secret? You know that guy who beat me in speech? He’d written his seven days before he won first place. Know how long I’ve been working on mine? A week short of a year. I’d brainstormed all summer, asked a speech nationals champion to be my mentor, and I’ve rewritten it at least seven times. And then with every rewrite, that means I have to rememorize it.
So. Slightly frustrating. But you know what? That’s okay. He is a more experienced speaker after all. Aside from this, he’s ultimately sharing a different facet of the same truth, and I know God has a plan for this, and success is contagious. I should probably hang around him more often and ask how he managed such a phenomenal placing in such a short period of time. Sometimes, you won’t understand it. Just hang in there, because if God’s the One Who gives it to you, even a second place trophy can be better than first place.