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Hi :happy: I'm feeling better today as I've pinpointed the source of my problems lately: work. It is taking over me, because of all these upcoming deadlines. I've also been having to deal with a lot of difficult people in the project I am directing. I think stuff like this requires more "streetsmarts" to manage people, so it's giving me more stress, but i'm also learning and i think every incident helps me develop a calm, rational mentality for solving problems like this (after i vent on here of course :tongue:)

Another major source of stress is the intense competition in this program. Obviously, everyone here is driven, but it is such a small group of people and I can really feel the undercurrents of competition. Very strongly. In between others. And even in between me and others. I only like to compete against myself. And not others. But in this program , there isn't much of an option and I think that we are constantly in a position to be compared against one other, when we have so many similar accomplishments and end-goals in mind. Idont know if this makes sense, but I feel like my own voice and vision is drowned out by all the competing voices and visions. When I'm on my own, I have a strong sense of what I want, what I'm running for, and what makes me unique, but in this program, I feel that my uniqueness is drowned out because so many people have similar and equally impressive accomplishments and everyone's life/visions seem more intereseting then mine. i then feel like i get into this mode of "Oh you 're not going to get that fellowship/grad school." BUT, once i take some time to review things, NO one's accomplishments are more impressive. we're just so different even though we may have similar accomplishments. Still, I feel like I lose a strong grasp of my self/my voice/my vision when I am surrounded in competition.

I posted in the INFJ forum, but the replies i got were mostly relating to my problem OR denying they struggle with this problem. The latter responses I got are usually from people who were able to remove themselves from a competitive environment or didn't have to engage in one. With my situation, I'm sort of forced to be in this environment... so yeah... I was wondering if you wonderful ISTJs can help me and advise me on this. I feel like I just need to keep reminding myself of my own voice, but I'm not really sure how. And I know I'm focusing on the negatives, how I feel "lacking" compared to others, instead of focusing on all the positives and what I do have, but any advice would be appreciated on how not to feel drowned out by competition.
 

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There's presumably a reason you entered the program. Remind yourself of this often. The end goal is what you are looking towards. Yes, everyone else is too, but whether they are or not, that shouldn't be your problem or your concern. Your concern is reaching your end goal. Focus on that, and how your hard work will be worth it at the end. By your end goal, I don't mean finishing the program, but rather what you intend on doing with the knowledge after you are done with it.
 

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I watched a 16 year old pianist on TV and he said some pretty wise words to the effect of "Before and during a performance a lot of unnecessary things try to run through your brain to distract you, and no good comes of them. Just look at whats ahead and perform to your best."

Certainly you are fine in comparison to your competitors, and showmanship only counts for so much. I wouldn't let the noise get in your way. I would try to let actions speak for themselves.
 

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In the rare instances I do get drawn in to competition, I respond to that sort of situation by competing harder, eventually your goal becomes the only thing on your mind. I don't like that though, so I avoid getting drawn in to competition.
 
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I've decided to share another quote which could have helped me out when in restaurant management back in the day.

"First the employees buy into the manager as a person, then your vision" - a guy named Chauncey

I don't think its applies to her problem, but its one of those things type 1 like us can let get away from us.
 
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