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22 Comments

Your Own Amazing Race

amazing-race

My travel goal takes me to a lot of places, and the trips don’t always play out the way I expect. Things go wrong. Some trips are thrilling, some are boring, and most are somewhere in between.

Someone asked me recently, aren’t you on The Amazing Race? I saw you jumping around in taxis in Thailand.

Wrong guy.

My answer: “No, I’m doing my own Amazing Race. It’s better than the one on TV.”

No offense to CBS, but I like my version. It’s better to have your own race because you define your own goal and your own finish line. If need be, you can change the rules along the way to suit your own needs.

***

The problem with playing by someone else’s rules is that the rules are set by gatekeepers, who are all about comparing your skills to others and seeing how you measure up on criteria they select. As my friend Danielle likes to say, “Comparison kills.”

Instead of going along for the ride, why not set the rules in a way that is favorable to you? It’s much more fun to run a monopoly.

Also, you win. It’s your race! You can’t be voted off or fired or booted out due to a last place finish. The trophy belongs to you, but when you play for your own satisfaction and the love of adventure, you won’t even need it.

Congratulations, everyone. See you at the finish line.

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22 Comments

  • Oleg Mokhov says:

    Hey Chris,

    When you create your own amazing race, you end up accomplishing two things for the price of one: getting to your goal, and learning to build something.

    It’s the difference between working for a business versus building your own – you deliver the same value, but with the latter, you also learn how to build something great.

    Congratulations on your amazing race for your book,
    Oleg

  • Alan says:

    The finish line? Wait…this is a race?!?! Ah! But I forgot my running shoes!

    Just kidding, Chris – you touched on the underlying reason why I’d like to work for myself one day. When you play by your own rules, life is fun, challenging, stimulating, fulfilling, etc. If there’s anything I’ve picked up on reading your posts, it sounds like you’re having a ball.

    Keep it up!

  • Kerri says:

    Thanks Chris! This short, fun post has really inspired me today 🙂
    I look forward to the rest of my Amazing Race, and I love the idea of meeting you (and lots of others) at the finish line! I’m keeping that visual.

  • Colin Wright says:

    I’m a big fan of playing by my own rules, or even creating a completely different game than everyone else is playing. It’s partially an aversion to competition (I would much rather work WITH others than against them…we have so much to learn from each other), and partially because I don’t see any reason to trod the same path that so many others have. I can read or watch all about their journey, so why shouldn’t I have my own? And then write about it so others can take it in and decide whether or not the trail I’ve blazed is for them?

    Really nice and concise post.

    Also: I know a couple that were on the Amazing Race. They thought it was pretty cool, but I’ll bet they wish they hadn’t been kicked off. If you have your own game going, though, there’s no one who can hold you back except yourself.

  • Chris, you always have great stuff. I haven’t commented before but this made me think of all the times on trips when things seemingly go wrong (miss a flight, can’t find a hotel, etc…) but the trip then takes on a synchronistic feeling to it.

    One thing leads to another and you find yourself in the middle of your own little adventure not quite knowing what’s going to happen next but enjoying whatever comes your way.

    Great stuff Chris!

    Marshall

  • Jeff Wiedner says:

    Love this. Favorite part was, “comparison kills.”

    I know the primary theme through your writing is working for yourself. But that’s relevant for anyone trying to make a difference in the world, too. I see so many nonprofits trying to copy what others are doing — to the point that there’s very little differentiation. The groups and the people, who are willing to push the envelope and take that freakin’ scary plunge to go off the beaten path are the ones, who really do amazing things for the cause.

  • I spent most of my life trying to even figure out *how* to run in the other guy’s race. I finally got desperate enough to run my own and realized that I’m much much better at being me and doing my thing than at being what I thought the world expected.

    I don’t even know how to be conventional and conservative. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that since they wouldn’t work for me anyway, I don’t even have to learn.

  • Comparison really does kill.

    I got my first taste of this when I realized that there were LOTS of people in the world who would love to have my body. So while I was hating on me and wishing I looked like Christina Hendricks, someone out there would give everything they have to look like me.

    I’ve also had these flashes in the professional area, but I realized that when I was doing something that I REALLY cared about – I wasn’t competitive or envious at all. We are working together to create solutions to real problems, it wasn’t about the ego at all.

    So basically, it’s when I dropped the comparison-ing that I knew I was in the “right place”.

  • Comparison is the final step of [personal] development.

    If you do not compare yourself to others, whether it is through cooperation or competition, you have no idea where you stand relative to what is possible. For instance, you may think you are pretty awesome because you have run a marathon, just to pick an example that everybody seems to be doing these days, but knowing that there are people out there that consider a marathon a warm-up or training run for their own 100 mile ultra events puts things in perspective and makes you move your own limits and set new goals.

    This is why comparison is essential.

  • It’s funny that this article came up today when I was actually negotiating with myself as to whether something I did today ‘counted’ as my personal daily writing requirement. (I decided that it did.) Thanks for the reminder that the rules are my own and I’m allowed to rewrite them on the fly.

  • Comparing myself to *others* has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on what is possible for *me*.

    Measuring is critical; I have to have a specific measurable goal in order to know when I’ve reached it. But comparison to other people? Not me. I’ll compare me today with me yesterday to make sure I’m improving, but if I compare myself to others, that’s a great way to lose heart because I’ll never run a marathon, or to get arrogant and slow down because I’m in the 99th percentile in something else.

    Comparison kills.

  • Exactly!!! I’m so glad I found this site, it’s awesome.

    I need to adopt my driving/racing mentality and apply it to all areas of life. When I go and autocross, it’s me against me and the clock. I go, and as long as I improve and beat my times through-out the day, I’m happy and satisfied and having fun. It doesn’t matter where I stack up against other people — It’s me and my car and the clock, all that matters. 🙂 It’s nice to be fast, sure, but my fast isn’t necessarily someone else’s fast.

    Definitely need to keep reminding myself of this. I should just focus on being me, because nobody can be me better than myself. Right?

  • Laura Scott says:

    Another great reminder. Thanks!

  • Rich Dixon says:

    My guess is that a lot of folks would mis-interpret “making up your own rules.” That’s a totally different approach than “breaking the rules.”

    If you’re choosing to play someone else’s game, you ought to follow the rules. Any other approach is simply cheating. Example–you want to fly an airline, you pay. It’s okay to know the system and use it to your advantage, but it’s not okay to sneak aboard. One is smart, the other’s dishonest.

    That’s why it’s important to clearly understand that, in what really matters, it’s YOUR game. You decide what’s important and then achieve on your own terms.

    But we also need to be clear that it’s not okay to win the other guy’s game using your rules–that’s just cheating. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Chris says:

    To each his own, but if the rules don’t make sense or are set up by gatekeepers for no good reason, I don’t object to breaking them. In the case of airlines, they do plenty of cheating on behalf of themselves. If someone gets something past them once in a while, I say good for them.

  • Rich Dixon says:

    Really? Cheating is okay because the other guys do it?

    That’s disappointing. Sorry, but that’s not nonconformity–it’s dishonesty.

    If the airlines cheat–bad on them. You’re not REQUIRED to use them, are you? Your choice to travel by plane isn’t on the “human survival needs” list. They sell, you buy.

  • Chris says:

    Rich, I never said anything about cheating, but when you talk about rules you also have to talk about who sets them.

  • Nicole says:

    By doing this, it’s also a lot easier to win the race because you’ll greatly reduce your competition.

    p.s. Hat tip for the response to Dixon.

  • priyanka says:

    This is so true ! One should set his own standards and live up to them. Nice post.

  • Daniel says:

    Completely agree that comparison kills. But I think for most people it’s really hard to do truly original things–either it’s too challenging to think up something original, or it’s too difficult to break away from the herd. That’s why so many members of the human race fall back into the default mode of comparing themselves to the people around them.

  • Kattie says:

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before ending I am reading this wonderful paragraph to increase my know-how.

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