I stumbled onto a book of quotes yesterday. The title of the book is, What’s Next.

It’s your typical book of inspiring quotes–a mixture of thoughts about life and work. As I thumbed through the slender volume, I came across this quote,

Your biggest competition is your own view of your future.

There are at least two ways this quote can be helpful in our view of the future. First, there is the idea of self-limitation. We limit ourselves because we construct, in our minds, a narrow future. Our dreams are domesticated, if we dream at all. When dreams shrivel, life becomes dull, even boring (something I get from the quote). The “competition” of our future may be an unwillingness to imagine a bigger world, a more interesting and worthwhile pursuit. So, as Thoreau said we must, “Go confidently in the direction of your (our) dreams! Live the life you’ve (we’ve) imagined. As you (we) simplify your (our lives) life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

The other helpful view of the quote is to view the idea of competition not as self limiting, but self expanding. What if my “competition” happens to be a robust and big dream? What if I expect to succeed? What if I’m planning on making the difference I know I can make? What if my dream, my worth-getting-up-early-and-going-to-bed-late-dream, becomes my competition because it pushes me to be my best? Then, my view of my future is not puny, but large and full of adventure. The quote reminds me that my best thoughts about my future can be the inspiration and energy I need to create the very world I long to live in.

The first question then is, will my view of my future increase my desire for success or cause me to shrink back from opportunities. The choice in mine (and yours).