Sam Altman had a good piece of advice in the Farnam Street blog this week:

“I think one thing that is a really important thing to strive for is being internally driven, being driven to compete with yourself, not with other people. If you compete with other people, you end up in this mimetic trap, and you sort of play this tournament, and if you win, you lose. But if you’re competing with yourself, and all you’re trying to do is – for the own self-satisfaction and for also the impact you have on the world and the duty you feel to do that – be the best possible version you can, there is no limit to how far that can drive someone to perform.”

Being internally driven is a measuring stick against yourself. How many fewer days did I have to feed hay this year? How much higher was my weaning percentage? Was I more profitable this year than last year? These are all great questions that don’t involve anyone else!

Being internally driven doesn’t depend on what other people are thinking or doing. It doesn’t depend on your neighbor’s weaning weights or crop production. You don’t have to worry about keeping up with the Jones’s anymore.

Honestly, I think most of the angst and worry in agriculture is from trying to keep up with our neighbors. Our focus should be on our profitability, not what our neighbors are doing. The quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” comes to mind. Strive this year to compete with yourself and see what kind of change it will make.

Quote Worth Re-Quoting

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.

Lou Holtz
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