…beat yourself first and then you can beat others, beat yourself harder and you just might lose yourself.

We learn to compete by first challenging ourselves and achieving our goals. Then comes what do to next. Everyone wants his second attempt to be better than the first; seldom does this occur. The first is usually better than the second.  To impress anyone, you would have to do that with as little stress as possible on yourself. The body functions naturally when you are simply you.

Rachael was intelligent! No doubt about that. But did she have more book sense than common sense? Ever wished you knew the answer to every question you were called to answer in class, and could answer the question without panicking because you were confident in what you were going to say; give educated guesses without ever having to let your mind play eenie meenie miney mo? Well, Rachael was all of that. How did this start?

“The Overall Best Student Prize goes to Rachael Annan,” announced the principal. “Well done Rachael. You’ve made me proud,” said her Mum.  Rachael smiled. For her, it had always been about competition. She loved school. Ever since she had scored a perfect ten on her first dictation test, she made it a point to never let others beat her to anything. Speech and Prize Giving Day was her day, literally, because it could have been dubbed ‘Rachael’s Day’. She always felt like she was about to receive a Nobel Prize. “How on earth does she do it?” her friends would ask. Rachael couldn’t really give a clear answer to this. It was something from within her. She had learned to beat herself first, was always willing to go the extra mile, and this was her motivation. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to witness something phenomenal,” announced her school principal during a speech day. Rachael took home eight prizes that day. She’d set the bar high very high, and a week later she was in the newspapers. Fancy that! You can imagine the immense pressure on her to keep up with none other but her very own self. Then she got sick.

 “Of course Mrs. Annan, let her come back when she’s fit and ready,” said the receptionist. Mrs. Annan had gone to the school to inform them that Rachael had gotten the pox, and needed a few weeks off school to recover. “Mama, I think I’ll be able to go to school next week” said Rachael to her Mum. She was a stubborn one. “Ok honey, if you’re well by then,” her Mum replied.

Catching up in school was tedious. She had a reputation to maintain. Too much stress on herself had given her results she had not wanted. Gradually she began to lose her confidence. She became quiet in class, answering questions only when she was called, and her contribution to class discussions was inconsequential. So finally she had been beaten; the feeling that she had been outperformed was one she had never felt before. It was strange and very unpleasant.

Harder and harder she tried, she pushed herself to extreme limits. She suffered many countless, sleepless nights just to make sure she’d studied thoroughly. She’d go to school with sunken in eyes, and sleeping in class had become a new habit. Her body was not used to this kind of stress, and it affected her so much.

It was white, small and rounded. So many were put in one tiny plastic bottle. Take one, and you were guaranteed a faster rate at which your body would function. “A pill or two wouldn’t hurt,” she whispered to herself. So it had unfortunately come to this, but it seemed to work for her. Her brain was performing faster, grasping everything she learned quicker. She had aced her tests in school. “The old me is coming back,” she thought to herself.

They say too much of something can be harmful to you, but how would you know when you enjoy every little bit of it. Bad feels so damn good. Her mind was telling her things she wanted to hear. Her body was responding like a submissive servant. The pages were reducing, she could go all night long but she didn’t have to because she was almost done studying what she had to. Complacency became her companion. “Oh Rachael not to worry, remember them pills will do the job” her mind would tell her. “I wonder what happens if I take five pills, or maybe the whole bottle of them. That way I can finish these chapters and catch some sleep” she said to herself one night. That was exactly what she did. Rachael did get some sleep, more than enough in fact. Her Mum found her the next morning lying in bed unconscious. “Rachael!” she screamed with a sense of worry in her voice.

“Rachael, honey wake up, Rachael!” she screamed louder. Now she knew something was definitely wrong. Down fell the tiny bottle from behind Rachael’s pillow, and putting the puzzle pieces together she guessed what was happening. Minutes later Rachael was lying on a hospital bed. Her Mum was terrified. She knew her daughter was ambitious and could be over confident sometimes, but had it now come to this? She moved closer to the hospital bed. Seeing her daughter lying there, with tubes going in different directions all over her face really scared her. “Rachael, I never said you were letting me down, but now you have succeeded in doing that. Why didn’t you just talk to me? You’ve shown me a thousand times that you’re indeed the best, and so what if you were second best for once? I’m not ready to carry you to your grave my baby. No, no!” she said to Rachael, who was still not awake. The door opened, and in walked the doctor. The concerned man said to Mrs. Annan, “She’ll have to stay here for a couple of days so we can run more tests on her. She’s a very lucky girl”.





  1. This is true that even someone has been declaired as the “winner”, he/she might not be ready with something come up after his/her success.
    Running this life with honest and kindness will guide us into the real success.. 🙂


  2. Very entertaining, so true to real life. As an achiever, I can side with Rachael. Have always instructed my daughters to shoot for the stars, so if they missed – they’ll still be over the moon.


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