Question: Everything seems so competitive, in school now, and in work later.
Answer: There is no need to compete at all, which only stresses yourself out. While you ought to be inspired by others who are doing well, you should aim to ‘compete’ only with yourself – by becoming a better person than the one you were, becoming ever kinder and wiser. Just do your best in each moment. Doing your best does not need competition. It should be joyous as a personal challenge, while being competitive is strenuous.
Question: Even without competing, I feel negative easily when I do not do something well. Failing makes me feel bad.
Answer: You just have to be more mindful to prevent similar mistakes, and to do better in future. Feeling down does not help at all. Beating yourself up actually makes you focus on the failure more than the lessons to learn well.
Question: I find it very tough not to focus on my present negativity and the hardship ahead.
Answer: If you continue focusing this way, you will be miserable for the rest of your life. Since this does not make sense, why not just learn from your mistakes well, and move on with a smile for a more hopeful future? Moping around today cannot lead to a happy tomorrow.
Question: Yes, I am still trying. It is really tough though.
Answer: Again, there is no point harping on it being tough, which only makes it tougher. If you have to do something, just do it well and gladly… or you will be doing it poorly and unhappily. The wiser choice is obvious. Whatever worth doing is worth doing well, or it probably should not be done at all. Do remember that your real goal is beyond the worldly and fleeting. It is to work towards the True Happiness of Buddhahood for one and all, which is transcendental and lasting. May your days be ever happier as you strive on with diligence!